Great shopping mistakes – fixed.

Shopping disaster? Unwanted gift? Faulty items? This is January so it’s time to review and return Christmas disappointments. This year up to 40% of clothing and between 5% and 10% of electrical goods and homewares bought online are returned to stores. So be in no doubt, you have a right to change your mind  If you’ve made a mistake or would like to get a refund, don’t take no for an answer. Here’s what to say and when to say it to  make sure you get your money back.

“It doesn’t work, or broke very quickly” – REFUND

All shops, whether they are online or on the high street have to sell you decent quality goods. If the item isn’t as described, of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose you are legally entitled to return it and get your money back under the Sale of Goods Act. You don’t even need to have the receipt, you just have to prove you purchased it from the store so a bank or credit card statement will suffice.

“It was bought online, and isn’t what I expected” – REFUND

Under distance selling regulations you have a seven-day cooling-off period when you buy something online. This is to make up for the fact that you cannot inspect the goods on the day you buy them and comes into effect the day the product is delivered to you. It means you have seven days to inspect the item and you can cancel your order and return the item for a full refund.

“I bought something second-hand or for a discount” – REFUND

Just because you’ve bought something at a knock-down price or second-hand doesn’t mean you lose your consumer rights. They are covered by the Sale of Goods Act too so should be fit for purpose, as described and of satisfactory quality. The only exception is if a fault was pointed out to you before you purchased the item.

“It was a private sale but faulty” – NO

If you buy something from someone who doesn’t make all or part of their living as a retailer you have far fewer rights. In that scenario you are only legally entitled to a refund if the item isn’t as described.

“I’ve changed my mind, or just don’t like it” – NO

Not liking something, or discovering it doesn’t fit, are not reasons that entitle you to a refund. Many shops will give you your money back as part of their own store policies but you have no legal right. So there is no point kicking up a stink at the checkout.

“It didn’t arrive on time” – MAYBE

If you ordered something for a specific event or occasion and it doesn’t turn up on time you are only entitled to a refund if you and the retailer had agreed that it would arrive by that date. However, items should arrive within a reasonable time, if it is over 30 days late you should be able to get a refund.

Bought it on a credit card? Then read this.

Section 75 is a fantastic piece of credit card law that provides extra protection for anything you buy with a credit card that costs more than £100. Read Why Section 75 may be most interesting bit of small print you’ll ever read to find out more about the protection you’re entitled to.