Thanks for the gift, now how do I get what I really want?
Christmas and the sales have seen much frantic shopping - with the inevitable need to return some goods later. Juliet Shedden on your rights to take items back.
Saturday January 10, 2004
So you hated that garish tie and ghastly pullover given to you at Christmas? Before you go marching into the store to demand the money back and huff and puff about consumer rights, take a step back. You have no automatic right to your money back.
As Moira Haynes, from the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureau (NACAB), says: "It's a common misconception that people have a right to return goods. That right, as a legal right, doesn't exist."
A shop has no legal obligation to offer you a refund or exchange unless the item is faulty. The big retailers like Marks & Spencer are being remarkably understanding when they offer you a refund or credit note on a non-faulty item.
So, what are your precise rights of return? We put your questions to the retailers and consumer organisations:
1. I haven't got the receipt for this. Can I still get my money back?
Marks & Spencer: "If you do not have a receipt, we would be glad to offer you a Marks & Spencer credit note."
HMV: "HMV will exchange items purchased in error or that are unwanted gifts provided they are returned within 21 days in perfect condition and are accompanied by a valid receipt. All goods must include original packaging. HMV is unable to accept items that have been previously exchanged, or multiple returns. HMV staff will, however, seek to use their discretion where appropriate."
NACAB: "You only have a legal right to a refund if the goods are faulty, misleadingly described or unfit for the purpose they're sold. However, some retailers offer additional rights and will give refunds, exchange goods or offer credit notes provided certain conditions are met: for instance, proof of purchase, like a receipt, or goods are returned in a certain time frame - often 28 days."
2. If I have the receipt. Can I demand cash back instead of a credit note?
OFT: "If the law has been breached (that is, the goods are not of a satisfactory quality, are damaged or defected, not fit for their purpose or are not as described) then a consumer is entitled to a full refund, they do not have to accept a credit note."
Marks & Spencer: "If you have a receipt, we would offer you a cash or card refund."
HMV: "Provided the items have been returned within 21 days in their original packaging and in perfect condition they can be exchanged for other goods up to the same value, but not for a cash refund."
NACAB: "If the item was faulty, misleadingly described or unfit for the purpose within six years you have a legal right to chose from a repair, a replacement, a partial or full refund or compensation. If you report the fault within six months the retailer has to prove the goods were not faulty when purchased."
3. I bought this present full price for Christmas, but my son already has it. Now it is in the sale: can I get a full refund or do I just get the sale price now?
OFT: "Depends on exchange policy of the company - if there's nothing wrong with the product then there is no automatic right to refund/redress."
Marks & Spencer: "You will receive a refund of the price paid for the present."
HMV: "Provided the items have been returned within 21 days in their original packaging and in perfect condition they can be exchanged for other goods up to the same value as that originally paid, but not for a cash refund."
4. I bought this present two months ago for Christmas. It turns out my wife did not like it. Can I get my money back?
Marks & Spencer: "If you have a receipt, you can have a cash refund. Otherwise, we can give you a credit note."
HMV: "No. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, items must be returned within 21 days in accordance with HMV's returns policy."
NACAB: "No, not as a right."
5. This was bought for my daughter but it broke two days after Christmas. Can I get my money back?
OFT: "The law says that goods you buy: must be of a satisfactory quality and be safe; must not be damaged or defective unless the person selling them to you points out a fault. The seller is liable for faulty goods or goods which do not meet the shoppers' rights. In this case the consumer would have the right to a full refund for the faulty goods, they would not have to accept a free repair, a replacement or credit note."
Marks & Spencer: "If the product is faulty, we will provide you with a full refund."
HMV: "If it is evident the item was faulty when purchased then customers are covered by their statutory rights. If the item was purchased in perfect condition, and has since been damaged or broken by the customer, HMV would not offer a refund or exchange."
6. I have just bought in the sales, but want to take an item back. Do I have fewer rights?
OFT: "You have the same rights when you buy something in a sale. But sales goods can be sold with a defect. If the defect has been pointed out, you can't ask for a refund. If the shoppers' rights have not been breached then there is no statutory right to a refund or redress."
Marks & Spencer: "Absolutely not. You can get a full refund for the price you paid for the product."
HMV: "HMV's refund policy applies equally to all products sold in its stores."
7. I got some vouchers at Christmas for a shop I'd never go in - can I swap them back for the cash?
OFT: "Depends on the terms and conditions of the voucher, but no automatic right to cash."
Marks & Spencer: "Unfortunately not. We have a wide range of great products, across clothing, home and food which you can spend your vouchers on when you choose."
(Haga doble click sobre las preguntas para ver las respuestas; un click vuelve a posición original)
Are the following questions true or false?
|1)||HMV never give a cash refund|
|2)||When you buy an item in the sale ypu have fever rights|
|3)||HMW and Marks and Spencer never swap vouchers for money|
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