In these uncertain economic times, everyone could save some money.
And an unlikely way to let yourself off better is to understand your consumer rights.
Personal finance experts on the UK website TheMoneyPig.com have revealed that the rights customers don’t realize what they are entitled to, including the ability to return faulty goods without a receipt.
They also explained the shopping myths that ill-prepared customers might catch, such as the generally accepted belief that you are automatically entitled to a refund.
Here, FEMAIL shares some of the most common do’s and don’ts so you are better prepared for your next shopping trip …
Personal finance experts on UK website TheMoneyPig.com have revealed that the rights that customers may not realize what they are entitled to. Stock Image
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO 14 DAYS COOLING OFF PERIOD ON ONLINE ORDERS
Your rights for online orders are more complicated than those for in-store purchases, although arguably better. Although a store contract is created when you have paid, for an online store you may not have a contract until your item has been shipped to you.
This means that you may not have a contract, even if you have received a confirmation email, and your order may be canceled if the price is wrong. You should check the terms and conditions to see when your contract would start.
On the plus side, you legally have a 14 day cooling-off period for online purchases from companies (not private individuals), from the day you receive the item. This is to allow you to see the product properly before making a decision so that you can return it for any reason.
There are exceptions, for example, if the goods are custom or perishable.
YOU DO NOT NEED RECEIPT TO RETURN ERROR GOODS
You don’t need a receipt to return faulty goods, although you must somehow prove the purchase, such as a bank statement. If the item is defective, not as described or does not work as it should, you are entitled to a full refund unless you knew the item was defective when you bought it.
YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A RETURN
If there is nothing wrong with the item and you have just decided that you don’t like it, you are actually not automatically entitled to a refund.
But most stores have and will honor a return policy, even if they don’t have to legally, and often extend the return period after Christmas. Keep the receipts and original packaging.
The exception is if you are within the 14-day cooling-off period for an online purchase, as above.
Some goods, such as earrings for pierced ears, may not be returned even under a store’s policy.
Please make sure to return the item as soon as possible once you have noticed the error to ensure the return goes smoothly.
It also reduces the chances of being asked if the error is due to wear. If you have caused the error, you cannot return the product.
THE MAIL SERVICE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOUR GOODS DO NOT ARRIVE
The seller has the legal responsibility to ensure delivery, not the courier. If your item does not arrive within 30 days of purchase, or on a date you agree with the seller, they will owe you a replacement or refund.
Contact the person or company where you purchased the product as soon as possible. They will hopefully send you a replacement or can track the package and let you know where it is.
If your order has not arrived within 30 days, you can also cancel the product with a full refund, according to the regulations of the consumer contracts.
YOU CAN GIVE A GIFT RETURN WITHOUT GIFT VOUCHERS
As we know, stores don’t have to refund you, but they probably do if you can prove the purchase and the goods are unused.
Gift cards are likely to speed up the return process, so if offered, it’s often very useful to bring a gift card just in case.
As perfect as the gift may be for someone, they may have seen something else they prefer in the store – or you may know them too well and they already own the item!
If gift cards are not available, you can ask the store clerk to write ‘bought as a gift’ on the receipt and this will have weight when it comes to returning the item.
Stores are not required by law to refund gifts, but if they do offer gift cards, this is a good way to show that they are likely to accept gift returns.
STORES ARE NOT REQUIRED TO RESPECT THE PRICE SHOWN
A store does not require you to sell an item at the displayed price if it is a real mistake, although it is illegal to deliberately mislead consumers.
This is covered by the Trade Descriptions Act, which makes it a crime for companies to sell a product based on misinformation.
This means that shops should tell the truth as much as possible when it comes to products, prices and services.