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Use your credit card to get simple refunds

Sales are expected to be down this Christmas and the Bank of England has announced that we are officially in a recession. As a result, high street shops aren’t hiring as many new members of festive sales staff as usual and a lot of stores are trying to find new ways to save money.

More from Spending Money
19 November 2008

Use your credit card to get simple refunds

Use your credit card to get simple refunds

An influx of returned unwanted Christmas gifts could hurt their bottom line even more.

Experts are saying that once a store has made a sale, in this economic climate, they will not want to ‘un-make’ it.

This is mainly because their profits will be down so much that an influx of returned unwanted Christmas gifts could hurt their bottom line even more.

As such, experts are warning that instead of being kind and flexible a lot of shops will be pointing to store policy certificates and the law instead of offering refunds.

Refund entitlement

It’s easy to assume that you’re entitled to a refund just because you don’t like the product or it doesn’t fit you correctly.

All you need to do is return an item within 28 days with your receipt and you’ll get your money back, right? Wrong.

If you purchase something and decide you don’t like it, it doesn’t fit or you already have one you don’t have any statutory rights to a refund at all.

Some shops will offer you a refund or store credit, but that’s just them being kind because there’s no lawful obligation to provide you with a refund under any circumstances except for ‘faulty goods’.

As the recession worsens (and it will before it gets better) you could find store policies changing drastically, so find out what you can and can’t return before making purchases.

How credit cards can help

Credit cards can offer you extra protection because if you buy online, by mail order or over the telephone there is a statutory ‘cool-off period’ of seven working days.

This is part of the Distance Selling Regulations Act and part of UK law. So, if you shop from home you can cancel an order within seven working days and must receive a full refund.

The same regulations mean that if you have agreed on delivery by a certain date such as a birthday or Christmas and it arrives late you can also apply for a full refund.

It’s worth noting though that the ‘cool off’ period only applies to some goods, it doesn’t apply to personalised items, food, news papers or magazines. You also can’t return fresh flowers or any DVDs, CDs, VHS, or computer software that has been opened.

Faulty goods

Finally, by law we are protected against faulty goods, meaning we do qualify for a refund if we receive something that doesn’t work or has pieces missing.

If you try to return something which is faulty you’re under no obligation to accept store credit, either. You can quote the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and demand a full cash refund.

Also, if something you receive isn’t as it was described (a dress is red instead of yellow for example) you’re within your rights to get a refund there too!

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