7 myths that retailers may tell you
Some traders will tell you anything to make you go away, rather than just give you your money back.
Here are some of the most common things traders will tell you:
- “Verbal contract? It’s not worth the paper it’s written on”. This is not true. Verbal contracts are legally binding.
- “No refunds on sale items” This sign is so common in shops. Whether they can do this or not depends on why the goods were on sale. If they were reduced in price because of a fault that was either pointed out to you or that you could have been ‘reasonably’ expected to notice before you bought it, then you are not entitled to a refund. But, if it was just on special offer or in the January sales, you are entitled to get your money back if it turns out to have a fault, to have been inaccurately described, or not fit for the purpose that it was sold for.
- “We don’t offer refunds – you must accept a credit note” If you buy goods that turn out to be faulty, the law says that the contract you made when you bought those goods has been broken by the seller. You are therefore entitled to cancel the contract (as long as you have acted within a reasonable amount of time) and get a full refund.
- “We can’t do anything without a receipt”. There is no legal obligation for shops to even give you a receipt, let alone for you to keep it. Shops should accept any proof of purchase, like a bank statement or credit card bill (if you paid by credit or debit card). If you paid in cash and have not kept the receipt, you may have difficulty proving that you bought the item.
- “It is not my fault if it doesn’t work. Make a complaint to the manufacturer.” It is the person who sold you the goods with whom you have made a contract. They are therefore responsible for dealing with any problems, and not the manufacturer.
- “It was fine when I sold it to you. You must have broken it!” If something breaks and you inform the trader within six months of purchase it is the trader’s duty to prove that the item had no fault at the time it was sold to you. If you have had the item for over 6 months it is your duty to prove the fault was present at the time of purchase.
- “If you have a complaint you will have to bring it back to the shop and we’ll discuss it” No matter what the size or weight of the goods it is technically always the seller’s duty to collect faulty items. If it is simply a case of you having changed your mind, you do not have these automatic rights but many traders will come and collect large or unwieldy items from you in the interests of customer service.
Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the legal information contained on Consumer UK is accurate, it does not constitute legal advice tailored to your individual circumstances. If you act upon it, you acknowledge that you do so at your own risk. The Proprietor can not assume responsibility or accept liability for any damage or loss which may arise as a result of your reliance upon it.
Last updated 14.07.2014