Reckon you know the in-store returns policy in your favourite high-street shops? What about the ones you don’t frequent as regularly? Surely, there’s just one rule for all, right? Wrong.
On the high street, your rights can differ from store to store.
In a survey conducted in November, we found most shoppers (74%) were unaware of this.
Six in ten (58%) either incorrectly believed they were legally entitled to a refund if they changed their mind about a non-faulty purchase made in store, or didn’t know whether they were or not.
Only four in ten (41%) shoppers knew they weren’t guaranteed a full refund if they bought an unwanted item in store.
And to make matters even more confusing, occasionally stores change their policy.
Last week, we noticed that clothing retailer Forever 21 had updated its in-store policy to allow customers to get full refunds on unwanted, non-faulty items within 30 days from the date of purchase.
For years, non-faulty items bought in its stores could only be exchanged or it would give you a credit note towards your next purchase.
Reflecting the desire of its shoppers to be able to return an unwanted item in an unworn condition, it’s now joined an already established cohort of big-name high-street brands offering generous returns rights as part of their in-store policy.
Knowing your rights
It isn’t always clear what a high-street brand’s in-store policy is and how it differs to the additional consumer rights shoppers enjoy making online purchases either.
Many stores don’t place information about their policy in prominent places, such as on their website or at the tills where you can clearly read them.
But it’s important you know how to find out about your consumer rights and how to exercise them should you change your mind about a purchase.
As most shops on the high street aren’t required to have a returns policy for unwanted non-faulty purchases in store, make sure you check the store’s returns policy so you don’t lose out if you change your mind.
You can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer allows it.
Most shops’ returns policies have time limits for returning non-faulty products, often 28 days. But sometimes they extend this period – especially at Christmas – so you might have more time than you think. Check when you buy.
If you buy online, you have additional rights in relation to non-faulty products under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
Have you ever been caught out by a store’s returns policy? Do you think there is more shops could do to make their in-store policies more visible?