Returns for items purchased online are protected by the Consumer Contracts Regulations, in contrast to the fact that brick-and-mortar stores do not required to accept returns unless the product is defective.

The Regulations Concerning Consumer Contracts

Orders that were placed online can be cancelled.

Where did Sanchia Pereira come from? When you make a purchase of something online, you have up to 14 calendar days after the item has been delivered to change your mind about the purchase. If you have ordered multiple items, the 14-day period will begin counting down from the time the last item is delivered.

If the seller has not yet delivered the things but you have changed your mind about having them, you can talk to the seller about cancelling the transaction. If the seller refuses, however, you could be required to take delivery of the items before your cooling off period can begin.

When you buy a service online, you can find yourself in a slightly different situation than what was described above. If you have explicitly agreed for the service to begin within the 14-day cancellation period and then decide to cancel at a later date, it is likely that you will be required to pay for any services delivered up until the point at which you have cancelled. This is because you have explicitly agreed for the service to begin within the cancellation period.

It is recommended that you:

Always make sure to keep a written record of the date when the contract was cancelled. You will have a record of the email or letter that you sent to the trader if you choose to cancel the contract in writing rather than verbally.
Talk to the trader about the best way to return the products, since the trader may be able to pick them up, or the items may not be able to be sent back through the mail.
If you are required to send them back to the seller via the mail, you should send them by recorded delivery so that you can establish that they have been received by the seller within 14 days of cancelling the transaction.
Check the contract; the trader should not ask you to agree to provisions of a contract that do not grant you your right to cancel the transaction within the cooling-off period specified in the contract.

In certain circumstances, you may be unable to exercise your right to cancel the contract. This may occur, for instance, if you break the seal on a product, rendering it unsuitable for return for reasons related to health or hygiene; if the product becomes mixed up with other items after delivery; or if you remove the seal from an audio, video, or computer software product.

It is also important to note that there are certain purchases that you could make, but due to the nature of those purchases, you would not be able to exercise your right to a cooling off period. For instance, products that are produced specifically to your specifications, such as a dress, or items that are subject to spoilage, such as food. Legal is able to provide you with additional guidance that is specifically adapted to your circumstances if you are uncertain about whether or not your item is customised or whether you have a right to cancel the purchase within the first 14 days.

You have expanded rights to return items that you have purchased online if you made the purchase there.

This is due to the fact that your choice may be based on a brief description or a snapshot, and as a result, what you receive isn’t necessarily exactly what you’d expected to obtain.

If you have merely changed your mind about an item, you are permitted to return it in accordance with the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

Online returns timelines

You have the right to cancel your order beginning the moment you put it online and continuing for up to 14 calendar days after the day you receive the products that you ordered. A “cooling-off period” is another name for this time frame in various contexts.

Within the specified amount of time, you have to convey to the merchant (through email, for instance) that you would like to cancel the order that you placed.

After informing the store of your decision to cancel the purchase, you will have an additional 14 days from that point forward to return the items.

Longer returns periods

Because the return policy of many online merchants is extended even further, you should check the terms and conditions very carefully before making any purchases to ensure that you have sufficient time to send back any unwanted things.

Be aware, however, that if you rely on the online store’s more generous timeline for returns, there may be additional conditions you’ll need to adhere to if you decide to send the goods back after your 14-day right to reject the purchase has passed. This is something you should be aware of before making your decision.

If you return the items you no longer desire within the timeframes specified by the Consumer Contracts Regulations, there are very few circumstances in which you will not be eligible to get a refund.

Exceptions to the requirements for online refunds

Under some conditions, the Consumer Contracts Regulations will not let you to use your right to cancel the contract.

These include perishable commodities, CDs, DVDs, or software whose packaging has had its seal broken, and items that have been customised or personalised specifically for the customer. They also include products that have a seal that has been broken, which was placed there for purposes of health protection and cleanliness.

Goods that have been inextricably combined with other items after delivery are also covered in this definition.

KEY INFORMATION

When I return items that I no longer want, do I have to pay a fee?

Unless the vendor specifically states that they will pay for returns, you are responsible for paying the shipping costs associated with returning unwanted items.

There are certain stores that provide free return labels, which means that you do not have to pay to return an item.

We strongly advise you to obtain a proof of postage in the event that the shop later challenges your claim that you have returned the products.

Proof that the items were mailed back should be sufficient evidence to indicate that you sent them back.

You can get additional information, including your rights in the event that your package arrives late or is lost by reading our advice on who is responsible for paying to return unwanted goods.

When you receive defective merchandise, you shouldn’t have to pay to ship it back to the seller. For further information, please refer to the section that we have written about the charges of returning defective products.

Can I get a refund for the money that was spent on delivery?

If your order from an online retailer arrived on time as anticipated and you would now like to return it because you have changed your mind about purchasing it, the following piece of advice is for you.

You need to let the store know that you want to cancel the order and return the goods within the allotted amount of time for doing so.

After you have returned the items to the merchant, you should be entitled to a refund of both the cost of the items themselves as well as the cost of the standard delivery that you paid in order to have the items sent to you in the first place.

Your reimbursement for the cost of the items as well as the standard delivery fee must be made within fourteen calendar days of your returning the goods or providing confirmation that they were returned.

If the store has offered to collect the items, it has 14 days from the date you informed it that you wanted to cancel the contract to issue a refund to you, even if you cancelled the contract. Therefore, this indicates that you do not need to wait for the store to have retrieved the goods before you can receive your refund.

I paid more for special delivery; is it possible to receive the money back that I spent?

When you return an undesirable item that was delivered on time, the cost of the expedited or dedicated day delivery service that you paid for will not be returned to you because the retailer was the one who carried out that portion of the service.

If you paid more for products to be delivered at a certain time and they arrived later than this and you no longer desire them, then you can seek to be repaid the cost of the express or dedicated delivery as well. This applies only if you paid extra for the items to be delivered at this time.

This is due to the fact that the store did not carry out the component of the service for which you had given them an additional fee.

Read our guide on late deliveries for more information if you’re interested in recouping costs from the merchant because your products arrived late or weren’t there when they were supposed to be.

KEY INFORMATION

Is it possible for the shop to take any money from me?

You may be eligible for a deduction if the worth of the items has been diminished as a direct result of your handling of the goods in excess of what was required.

To the same extent that you would be able to handle the items if you were evaluating them in a store, you will have the same level of access to them here.

Bringing back defective items purchased online

In addition to your other legal rights, you have protections under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

You have the same rights under the Consumer Rights Act if you receive things that are faulty and don’t do what they’re meant to, or if they don’t fit the description that was given to you. These are the same rights that you have when you buy something face to face.

In the event that you are returning an item because it is defective, any terms and conditions that state you are responsible for covering the expense of doing so do not apply.

Read our guide on what to do if you need to return a faulty goods if you are planning to return an item because it is defective and you are wanting to return it.

When customers return items, should I issue credit notes?

It’s possible that the retailer has a returns policy that states it will only issue customers a credit note or vouchers in exchange for their returned items. However, this should only be applicable in situations in which customers choose to return an item they no longer want.

In addition, in accordance with the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have the right to request a refund rather than a credit note if you are returning an online order up to or within the first 14 days after the day you got the products for which you placed the order.

When a client returns an item to a merchant because it is defective, the retailer’s return policy cannot stipulate that the customer must accept vouchers as payment.

The Consumer Rights Act outlines the legal protections that customers are entitled to in the event that a product develops a defect that the vendor is unable to rectify or mitigate.