After spending the last couple of months buying presents for friends and family, many of us are now treating ourselves to a few bargains in the January sales. But what happens if things go wrong?
Here is our guide to your rights:
1) If an item is marked as reduced, it MUST have previously been on sale at a higher price for at least 28 consecutive days.
2) If signs around the shop say “half price sale” or “up to 50% off”, the maximum reduction should apply to at least 10% of the items on offer at the start of the sale.
3) You sometimes see items marked as “special purchase” rather than “reduced”. These are usually things that have been brought in specifically for the sale and do not have to been on sale at a higher price.
4) Retailers are not obliged to give you an exchange or refund if you simply change your mind about something you have bought – including an item of clothing that doesn’t fit. Many retailers have more generous policies than this, but be aware that shops sometimes change their rules during the sale – for example the usual 28 days to return something might be cut down to 14 or even 7 days. The best advice is to ask before you pay so you are clear on what the rules are.
5) If the item is faulty then your usual rights under the Sale of Goods Act apply – even if the item is on sale. Any problems should be taken up with the retailer in the first six months who should organise a repair, replacement or refund.
6) If you try to return an item during the sale, make sure you have the receipt otherwise the retailer is likely to offer you the reduced price as a refund or exchange.
7) Not many people realise this but you actually have MORE rights if you do your shopping online from the comfort of your sofa. Under Consumer Contracts Regulation, when you buy over the internet, you have 14 days from placing your order to change your mind and cancel it. In addition once you receive your order, you have 14 days to return the item if you have changed your mind and the retailer MUST refund you in full within 14 days of receiving the unused item back.
8) There are some items that you can’t return unless they are faulty. Retailers are not obliged to offer refunds on certain items – even if you bought them online. These include personalised and customised items – for example engraved jewellery, perishable items such as food and CDs, DVDs or computer games that have been unwrapped.