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Returning goods bought in the sales

January Sales Andover High Street
January Sales: Andover High Street

It’s late December and the January sales are on. 

Most of us will be happy with items we bought and some of us will have heard, “The kids have been playing with it all day”, or “It fits perfectly”.  But, some of us will be unhappy with gifts, or will have bought items in a sale that just aren’t quite right.

Where do you stand on taking these back to the shop?  Or, can you really trust whether a ‘sale’ is a ‘sale.

If you bought an item in a sale, or received one as a Christmas present, you may not be able to return it.

Here we’ll try and condense the snappily titled Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 for you.

To start, an understanding of what a ‘sale’ really is:

‘Reduced to clear’ means the product is being discontinued, so prices are reduced.

‘Special Buy’ means the shop has negotiated a special price with suppliers and have passed these discounts onto the shopper.

‘Sale’ means a ‘significant proportion’ of items offered for sale have previously been at a higher price. Additionally, there must be a comparison, such as ‘Was £25, now £15’.

One thing that catches our eye at Love Andover is the neatly added words ‘up to’, as in ‘Up to 50% off sale’.  Whereas this extremely alluring message gives the impression that you can get that designer item you wanted before Christmas at half price, the statement only really means that 10% of the relevant items in a store are offered with that enticing discount.

Here’s the worrying bit: If you change your mind about a product you have bought in-store, you don’t like a present you received, or you discover your expectations on dress size were enthusiastically adrift from reality, you may not be entitled to return it.

You can only return non-faulty goods bought in-store for an exchange or refund if the retailer has a returns policy.  Shops don’t have to have a returns policy for purchases made in store, but if they have one they must stick to it.

Most retailers also impose time limits for returning non-faulty goods, such as 28 days. So, an unwanted present bought for you from Next in the first week of December means you need to get yourself to Enham Arch sharpish.

Incidentally, we note that Black Friday and Christmas Day are apart by more than the suitably convenient 28-days.

If you have something that’s faulty, regardless of whether it was bought in a sale, you have the right to return it under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

If you bought items online, the usual rule is ’14 days’. You must cancel your order within 14 days, you must then return your unwanted goods within 14 days and your refund must be paid within 14 days after the return of the goods (or after evidence is provided that they were returned).

Of course, we hope that you won’t need to use this information and all presents received were a perfect fit – and at a size you find pleasing.  Happy January Sales!

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