When it comes to returning a faulty or unwanted item you purchased online, you actually have strengthened shopping rights. But how clearly do retailers explain these rights to you?
If you’re looking to return an unwanted or faulty good you bought online, your first port of call will be the website from which you made the purchase – especially if the receipt and packaging has already made its way into the bin.
Whether in an FAQ section or as part of a dedicated returns and refunds page, most of us will search the website for clear and correct guidance on the timelines, remedies and conditions around returning their goods.
If the information is sparse, ambiguous or contradictory, you might then be tempted to give the retailer a call, start an online chat with it or – if you’re in the mood to do a bit of digging – delve into its T&Cs.
Invariably, you’ll find the information you’re looking for, but can you be sure that you’re not reading something misleading or limited to the store’s own returns policy?
In a recent survey, 53% of people told us they trust retailers to inform them of any rights they may have to cancel or return an unwanted or faulty product. But, as our recent investigation into the online returns information of retailers shows, this trust might be misplaced.
As part of the same survey, we also found that there is widespread confusion over returns rights in relation to warranties.
While 80% of people we asked could correctly identify their refund rights for faulty goods within the first 30 days, just 28% knew they could get a refund, repair or replacement if a product develops a fault after one year, even without a warranty.
Many also didn’t know that It is the responsibility of the retailer, not the warranty provider, to deal with faulty goods claims.
Clearer communication needed
Given the common confusion among shoppers around warranties and statutory rights, misleading online returns policies, such as those uncovered by our investigation, may prevent shoppers from effectively exercising their returns rights, leaving them out of pocket.
We believe that retailers must do a better job at clarifying statutory rights as separate to online returns policies to promote trust and safeguard consumers from faulty goods.
Have you had a good or bad experience returning goods purchased online? Was it made clear to you what your rights were? Did you come across any misleading or unclear information that contradicted those rights? Have you ever challenged a retailer presenting misleading or unclear information?