Top tips to arm yourself at the till
Stepping outWhat do your shoesreally say about you?
10:31 03 March 2010
More than 12 million UK consumers have experienced problems when trying to return unwanted or faulty goods to clothes shops, a new government survey shows.
According to the figures by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), almost a quarter of women are more likely to have experienced problems with exchanges and refunds of fashion items than men (14%).
While this could be down to the fact that women are often keener shoppers meaning they buy more in the first place, the study showed there was a distinct lack of consumer rights know-how in female buyers.
Almost half of the women think they can be refused a refund if they don't have a receipt, when in many cases, proof of purchase such as a bank statement may suffice.
Three out of four women are unaware that goods bought online are affected by different consumer rights to high street stores. With online purchases, you get the added bonus of a seven day cooling off period.
One in three women thinks if they make a complaint they won't be taken seriously. And 20% said they lacked confidence when seeking a refund or exchange.
The research was undertaken as part of the 'Know Your Consumer Rights' campaign, a joint initiative by BIS and Consumer Direct and Consumer Focus to make sure shoppers get a fair deal.
Michele Shambrook, operations manager at Consumer Direct, said: "With the high street flaunting the new trends for the season, it's time to brush up on your consumer rights by visiting the Consumer Direct website at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.
"Of course, it's nerve-wracking if the shop assistant refuses to give you an exchange or refund, but knowing your consumer rights will give you the confidence and tools needed to take goods back."
Top Tips for buying clothes and shoes:
- Not your style:
Some might be surprised to learn that youdo not have a right to a refund if you've simply changed your mind, it doesn't fit, or the colour doesn't match.
However, many shops do have a store refund policy that allows you to change your mind within a certain period of time. Check the store policy when you buy and avoid an expensive mistake mocking you in your wardrobe.
- Six month rule:
If you make a claim for a repair or replacement of faulty goods within six months of purchase it's actually up to the retailer to prove that the goods were not faulty when sold to you.
- No receipt required:
You do not need a receipt to obtain a refund for faulty goods. However, you may be required to show proof of purchase with a credit card slip, bank statement or cheque stub.
Online is fine:
If you buy goods on the internet you also have the right to a seven working-day cooling off' period from the date you receive the goods, with the right to a full refund regardless of the reason for return.
- Returning it to the retailer:
When you buy goods, your contract is with the retailer not the manufacturer and you should always go back to the retailer to make a claim.
- Fit for purpose:
Goods you buy from a retailer should be fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. If they are not, you are legally entitled to make a claim for a refund, repair or replacement. Therefore, if your new jacket says waterproof on the label, it must keep the rain out.
- Act quickly:
If goods are faulty and you wish to claim a full refund you must return the goods to the retailer within a reasonable period of time.
- Smarter sales shopping:
You are not entitledto a refund on sale goods if you were made aware by the retailer that the goods were faulty or if the fault was obvious. Also, if you change your mind about liking the goods you are not entitled to a refund.
- Nearly new:
You have similar rights to a refund, repair or replacement as you do for new goods, but remember that the law doesn't expect second hand goods to be of the same quality as new ones.
- Stick up for your rights:
If the retailer is failing to acknowledge or respond to your consumer rights. In England and Wales, you can file a claim (under £5,000) with the small claims court.
To find out more about your consumer rights visit Consumer Direct at www.consumerdirect.gov.uk or 08454 04 05 06.