Changed your mind about that Black Friday buy? Your refund rights
There is no getting away from the Black Friday mega-discount day. Even in the run up to the American-adopted event, UK retailers were slashing prices both in-store and online.
If you thought you’d bagged a bargain but it turns out it wasn’t such a great deal, you made a last-minute spontaneous purchase that can’t be justified or the good’s faulty, we explain whether – and how – you can get a full refund.
Online vs in-store
You may be surprised to learn you actually have more consumer rights when buying online than in-store.
Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations you have 14 calendar days from the moment you receive the good to cancel the order and a further 14 days to actually send the goods back.
You should get a refund within 14 days of the seller getting the item back and it should include the basic cost of delivery too.
For services such as gym memberships where you may have started to use the gym already, consumer site Which? says you will be refunded but could be charged for the amount of gym you’ve used.
With other services and contracts, such as hotel bookings, flights or ticket events, you won’t have a right to cancel.
The refund rights also don’t apply to personalised purchases
If you bought an item in-store and then changed your mind, your refund rights may vary depending on which store you shopped in.
Unfortunately, you’re not entitled to an automatic refund though some stores may offer you all your money back. Others may offer you an exchange or credit note so it’s usually best to read up on the policy before you buy and check whether there’s a time limit – many state 28 days.
Shops aren’t required by law to have a returns policy, but if they, do, they must stick to it. Sometimes, especially at Christmas, the policy may be extended so you might have more time than you think.
What about faulty items?
If you bought an item that turns out to be faulty, it’s the responsibility of the retailer, not the manufacturer to help you resolve the problem and Which? recommends going to the retailer in the first instance rather than using a warranty.
Whether you’re eligible for a repair, replacement or refund, depends on when you bought the item.
Within 30 days, you should be able to get a full refund. After 30 days and within six months, the retailer can offer you a repair or replacement. If it still doesn’t work, you should get a full refund.
If more than six months down the line the item’s faulty, you may still be able to get a repair or replacement, but you may only get a partial refund to reflect the use you’ve got out of the item. Charity Citizens Advice cautions that you’ll need to prove you didn’t cause the fault which may make it harder to get redress.
What about digital content and buying via PayPal?
Paid for apps, ebooks and anything streamed online is covered by the Consumer Rights Act.
Which? explains that if there’s a problem with the digital product, the retailer or app store you bought it from has one opportunity to repair or replace it if it’s of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described.
If it’s unable to put it right you can demand a refund.
For those who pay via PayPal, such as through eBay, its Money Back Guarantee protects you if you have any problems as long as you report it within 30 days of receiving the good or the expected delivery date if the item’s failed to arrive. If eBay sides with the shopper, a refund can be issued.
However, this doesn’t apply to certain purchases such as vehicles, real estate, businesses for sale, and digitally delivered goods or service. If you paid as a ‘PayPal guest’ then the rights also won’t apply to you.
However, PayPal also has its own Buyer Protection where you can lodge a dispute within 180 days of payment. Again if Paypal upholds your claim, you’ll be given a refund. It also has a list of exclusions, similar to the eBay guarantee.