When I buy goods online I have to give the shop my payment details before they’ll send out the goods. Nothing wrong with that. But if the product turns out to be not what I expected, why doesn’t the supplier return my money with the same urgency?
Back on 6 February, my wife ordered a pair of shoes online from an ad in a catalogue. Unfortunately, the quality of the shoes that arrived bore no resemblance to those portrayed, so she returned them.
How quickly did she get her money back? Straight away? In fact it was 13 March, five weeks later, and even then only after several phone calls and with the costs of delivery and return deducted.
And that wasn’t an isolated example. Also in March, I had a problem with my broadband speed and was advised by my very reputable internet service provider (ISP) that the problem was with my modem.
So I ordered a new one from the ISP, which failed to solve the problem. The ISP admitted the problem was with its own equipment and quickly it sent a prepaid plastic package for me to return the modem. But again it was several calls and four weeks later before my money was returned. To be fair this was the fault of the modem supplier, not the ISP.
It goes on. In April I changed energy supplier – again from a very reputable company. The new arrangement started on 2 May but I’d left a credit balance with the old supplier. Again it took several calls before the cash was refunded – on 10 June about five-and-a-half weeks later.
Refunds must be quicker
I’ve experienced this kind of tardy service several times before and suffered in silence. Now I feel something must change.
I can understand that when you return goods, there must be a short delay while the retailer checks you’ve returned them in good condition – but that should surely take no more than a week.
About 25 years ago, I worked with a charge card company whose policy was to repay its service establishments (hotels, garages etc) in precisely 18 days. It wouldn’t shorten that period since every day it earned £600,000 in interest. No doubt delayed repayment policies also benefit other companies.
Have you had similar problems with getting your money back? How long did you have to wait?
This is a guest post by Phil Clarke, a community member on Which? Conversation. All opinions are Phil’s own, not necessarily those of Which? We chose Phil’s idea from the ‘Your ideas’ section on the website, make sure you share your ideas too.