Consumer Law Blog
Returning unwanted giftsby Claims Financial 29 December 2009
This Christmas I received many wonderful gifts but also a few that I didn't fully appreciate or 'understand', and one that was defective.
I have the receipts and on the one hand it feels cheeky to take them back to the shops, on the other, I know that I would be wasting my friend's money if I pretended to love it but secretly hid it in my wardrobe until I could 'pass it on'.
I am of course talking about returning unwanted gifts and also your rights in returning goods which are defective.
Section 14 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) provides that goods sold must be of satisfactory quality. If they are not free of defects (even minor ones), you have a right to reject the goods and claim a full refund. (Technically it's the person who bought the item that has a claim).
Let me give you an example. I bought a wireless speaker (so that I could listen to my laptop itunes in another room) and the sound quality was very poor - fuzzy and muffled. I took it back to the shop and they insisted that you get what you pay for and that it worked well, just not to my satisfaction.
I discussed the law with the assistant at the national electronics chain, and insisted that it was not of satisfactory quality.
In case you were wondering, satisfactory means the standard that a reasonable person would expect.
Is it really satisfactory for a speaker system to so compromise the sound quality that I cannot hear the lyrics? Of course not. I got a full refund but only after much debate and them suggesting that I had to buy something else instead. Stick to your guns - consumer rights are strong in this country.
What about returning unwanted gifts?
This is a bit easier. There is so much competition on the High Street that you normally have a returns policy that by far exceeds your legal rights. Check on their websites and, again, stick to your guns, as it's very possible that the shop assistant has not been fully trained and is not aware of the returns policy.
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