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Christmas Returns

At this time of year I am especially thankful that I am no longer in store. Whilst I occasionally miss the hustle and bustle of the Pre-Christmas rush, at no point do I miss the Post-Christmas free for all.

The worst part of the post Christmas retail experience is the return; many people get the wrong size shoes, a duplicate DVD or an unwanted Christmas Jumper that we would like to refund or exchange for something more to our liking.

Whilst most people go about this process like normal human beings, a minority turn into the incredible Hulk and lose all sense of perspective and common decency. As someone who used to be the poor guy standing behind the counter and in support of all the poor buggers who still have to do it I thought I would post some friendly advice for those of you seeking rectify those Christmas disasters over the coming days. 

Mind your Manners!

Manners cost nothing as your mum used to say, and despite popular belief being nice will get you much further than having a temper tantrum at sale assistant who probably isn’t authorised to make do what you want anyway. When you ask for the manager, make sure you haven’t spent 10 minutes abusing their member of staff first as any goodwill that they have will be gone.

Prepare for compromise

In most cases the store manager can probably do something to appease your situation, this might not be the exact result that you wanted. However if you don’t meet all the requirements for the return or refund, don’t be surprised if you are only offered an exchange or gift voucher.

Show them it’s yours

Bring a proof of purchase. If you don’t have one, then the store does not have to do anything for you. The fact that it has the brands sticker on it, or security tag or it’s in their carrier bag doesn’t mean anything, so do all the products in the store that you haven’t paid for.  The store doesnt know when you bought it, how much you paid and how you paid. Potentially if you paid on Credit Card and they refund it in cash, that’s technically a form of money laundering so they really need to know that stuff! More importantly if it was a gift legally the contract is between the store and the original purchaser so you don’t have any rights all.

I know my rights!

In short.

No you Don’t. Nor do I

Its not entirely our fault, no one does. There is such a mishmash of UK and European laws that cover purchases that no one knows what is covered by what, until when and what remedy is allowed.

But at least read the Sale of Goods act before you start trying to use it to cajole sales assistants into agreeing to your demands.

For example the word refund does not appear in the Sales of Goods Act, in a majority of cases the retailer is only legally required to replace or repair the item and they don’t have to do it there and then, they just have to do it with in a “reasonable time”.  

It’s also worth noting that in the event that you are entitled to a refund, the Seller is entitled to reduce that refund to take into account any use you have had of the product.

All in all most retailers will want to solve your problem in the most easy and efficient way. Not only to ensure that they don’t lose your custom, but also to make their own lives easy.

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