In-store shopping - Exchange or replacement issue
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Most major retailers operate a fairly customer-friendly returns policy and will accept returned items within a certain time period. However, you should be aware that you are not legally entitled to a refund or exchange if you have simply changed your mind about the purchased goods. Only if the goods are faulty must the trader, by law, offer you a refund or exchange - you should return them within 30 days.
Most retailers will ask for proof of purchase (your receipt, or in some cases your debit/credit card statement, will suffice). You should be able to find details of the shop’s policy either in-store, on the back of your receipt or on their website.
- You should generally expect a response within a week.
- If you don't get a response within this timeframe, follow up with another message!
- If you can't find a resolution with a retailer, they should give you the details of a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution provider (if the retailer has signed up to one).
- You have six years to take a claim for faulty goods to court. Be aware that after 6 months it becomes your responsibility to prove who is at fault.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and ombudsman services
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers are available to all businesses. They help when a dispute cannot be settled directly with the consumer.
These systems offer a quicker, cheaper way of resolving disputes than the courts.
If you can't resolve a matter directly with a business, they should give you an ADR providers details. They should let you know if they're willing to use the ADR for your issue.
Businesses don't have to use ADR unless they operate in a sector where the law says they have to.
The main ADRs for the retail sector are:
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme for Retail (RetailADR)
- and the Furniture Ombudsman
The Consumer Rights Act 2015
The Consumer Rights Act sets out rules for:
- What should happen when something’s faulty
- What should happen when services aren’t as described
- What should happen if you sign up to an unfair contract.
Generally speaking, it gives you quite a wide range of protection whenever you buy goods or services.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act
If you buy goods or services on your credit card, you may be protected under Section 75 if something goes wrong. Section 75 applies to goods bought on a credit card with a total value of between £100 and £30,000. If something goes wrong with your purchase, your credit provider is “jointly and severally liable” for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the seller.
This is especially useful in situations where the seller has gone bust! In these cases, you can approach your credit card company and let them know you’re making a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
Many goods come with a warranty. If something goes wrong with your purchase, you can consider making a claim on the warranty. If successful, your purchase will be repaired or replaced free of charge.
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