How to return faulty goods bought online

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) survey reveals that almost two-thirds of consumers are less likely to return goods bought online, compared to items purchased on the high street.

UK consumers are now ranked as the biggest online shoppers in Europe, having spent £38bn online in 2009 which accounts for 10% of total UK retail sales.

The survey for the ‘Know Your Consumer Rights’ campaign reveals:

  • more than 60% of shoppers are less likely to return goods purchased online, compared to goods purchased on the high street;
  • three quarters (77%) of UK consumers don’t know there are differences between online and high street consumer rights;
  • more than one in 10 (13%) admit to not being sure of their consumer rights with online purchases.

The survey also reveals that consumers are just as confused when shopping on the high street:

  • two fifths think that retailers always have a right to refuse a refund if they don’t have a receipt and;
  • one in ten believe goods can’t be returned once they’ve left the store.

Top Tips:

1. Online is fine – if you buy goods on the internet, you have the same rights as if you were shopping on the high street. In addition, you have the right to a seven day ‘cooling off’ period from the date you receive the goods, with the right to a full refund regardless of the reason for return. Remember though that this doesn’t apply in some situations, for example if the goods were personalised for you, were perishable, or are not in the same condition as when they were delivered.

2. Returning it to the retailer – when you buy goods, your contract is with the retailer not the manufacturer and you should always go back to the retailer in the first instance to request an exchange or refund. If you have a manufacturer’s warranty you can contact them as well as the retailer. And don’t delay – act as soon as you discover the fault.

3. No receipt required – you do not need a receipt to obtain a refund for faulty goods.  However, you may be required to show proof of purchase with a credit card slip or bank or credit card statement.

4. Check at the checkout – although you do not have the legal right to take back goods bought on the high street just because you’ve changed your mind, many stores do offer a ‘no questions asked’ refund or exchange policy. Check the store policy when you buy.

To find out more about Consumer Direct visit http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/

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