Right to a Refund

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by quikshop, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. quikshop

    quikshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    I came across a first for me with buying stuff online; the retailer refused to refund my full purchase price because I'd "plugged it in" and therefore it was now considered "used".

    I started selling online in 2002 I know that a customer who engages with a product, i.e. plugs it in, tries it on before deciding to keep it or not is entitled to a full refund (excluding shipping if the retail chooses not to refund the return costs).

    The rule as I understand it is:

    A deduction can be made if the value of the goods has been reduced as a result of you handling the goods more than was necessary. The extent to which you can handle the goods is the same as it would be if you were assessing them in a shop.

    I received the item, unpacked it, turned it on, decided it was not suitable and turned it off... no different to how anyone would assess an item in a shop.

    Am I wrong!? Have the regulations changed to make the definition of "used" simply engaging with a product to see if its suitable? Any help here most appreciated.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: quikshop Member since: Oct 11, 2006
    #1
  2. alan1302

    alan1302 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Is this B2B or a B2C purchase?
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: alan1302 Member since: Jun 2, 2018
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  3. quikshop

    quikshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    B2C, ordered less than a week ago, arrived yesterday, refund requested last night, retailer gives free returns but wants to hold on to 20% of the product value because it is now "used".
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: quikshop Member since: Oct 11, 2006
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  4. kulture

    kulture UKBF Legend Staff Member

    7,935 2,163
    What was the product? If it was, say a phone or computer, and you broke the manufacturer's seal, then they may have a point.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: kulture Member since: Aug 11, 2007
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  5. quikshop

    quikshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    It's a Dyson Air Purifier, the packaging was removed and product assembled, i.e. air filter slotted into the base then plugged in to assess it. There was no manufacturer's seal. But interesting point, that's what I need to find out what the current regulations state.

    My point is it was not used as designed, i.e. I did not use it to change the air temperature or purity in a room, I simply turned it on to assess it and decided it was not suitable.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: quikshop Member since: Oct 11, 2006
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  6. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    You have looked at the consumer regs relating to returns?
    Just because a retailer wants to do something does not mean they can.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  7. alan1302

    alan1302 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    542 96
    You can return it and get a full refund on this one then.

    Even if it had been a phone/computer you are allowed to turn it on to check it works/does what it is advertised to do.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: alan1302 Member since: Jun 2, 2018
    #7
  8. quikshop

    quikshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    That's my position, the issue is the definition of "used" and that's the subjective term they are using to justify retaining 20% of my refund.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: quikshop Member since: Oct 11, 2006
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  9. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Regular Free Member

    416 85
    [Assuming you paid by card]
    With consumer purchases such as these I have found going through the credit card issuer to be a lot simpler and more effective. Even the odd b2b purchase made on my personal card has been resolved the same way.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
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  10. quikshop

    quikshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    Debit card.
     
    Posted: Apr 25, 2019 By: quikshop Member since: Oct 11, 2006
    #10
  11. scm5436

    scm5436 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Soooo, you're saying "anyone" would walk into a shop, open the box, take it out, remove all the packaging, assemble it, plug in the filter and then plug it into a power socket and switch it on? In the shop? That seems unlikely, and also I'm sure the staff wouldn't be too happy about it either. So I would say you have gone above and beyond what you would reasonably expect to do in a shop.

    Also, according to the newer regulations, "If the value of the goods is diminished by any amount as a result of handling of the goods by the consumer beyond what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods, the trader may recover that amount from the consumer, up to the contract price. " (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/made 34.9)

    So, did you really need to plug it in to establish the nature of the goods? You could see the size, shape, colour, feel the weight, build quality, you could read the description and specifications on the box - what did you actually gain from plugging it in and turning it on?

    You claim you just turned it one and decided it wasn't suitable, but "did not use it as designed". So if you didn't use it as designed what part of switching it on suddenly made the product appear unsuitable?

    I think the merchant can make a reasonable case that handled it more that necessary to establish the nature of the goods, and now the product is used they can't resell it as new. So the value of the product that you're forcing them to take back is diminished through no fault of their own. Why should they take the loss because of your actions?

    The consumer regs allow this. Just because the consumer wants to do something doesn't mean they can.
     
    Posted: Apr 27, 2019 By: scm5436 Member since: Nov 22, 2007
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  12. quikshop

    quikshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    No, the test is equivalence so in a shop a device would already be available to see in action. An example I purchased a laptop from PC World recently on the back of using it in the store.

    Had I ordered the laptop online the equivalence would have been to "open the box, take it out, remove all the packaging, assemble it … plug it into a power socket and switch it on".

    So as a consumer I have every right to engage with the product before deciding whether or not to retain it or return it for a full refund.
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: quikshop Member since: Oct 11, 2006
    #12
  13. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Also, according to the newer regulations, "If the value of the goods is diminished by any amount as a result of handling of the goods by the consumer beyond what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods, the trader may recover that amount from the consumer, up to the contract price. " (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/made34.9)

    So the purchaser powered it up to check the function and probably the airflow from the item, is that not "what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods"

    I am sure trading standards would agree a full refund is required
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
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  14. deaytch

    deaytch UKBF Regular Free Member

    112 17
    You state:

    "I received the item, unpacked it, turned it on, decided it was not suitable and turned it off... no different to how anyone would assess an item in a shop."

    Why was it not suitable?
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: deaytch Member since: May 15, 2018
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  15. deniser

    deniser UKBF Legend Free Member

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    The nature and characteristics of the product are probably self evident from the packaging and instruction booklet but the "functioning" isn't, until you switch it on. For example it could be much noisier than you are expecting.

    On balance, I think you would be entitled to plug it in to test it.

    You can see it from the shop's point of view though. Would you have been happy with the product if you received it and it had obviously been opened by someone before you? If they have a B&M shop it's probably not so bad as they could use it as a display model and sell it for a discount but they probably can't sell it at full price if it has evidently been used.
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: deniser Member since: Jun 3, 2008
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  16. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Sometimes its not evident its been used.
    Have seen ex display stock put back into box and sold - having done weeks as display model.
    Company called Currys….
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  17. alan1302

    alan1302 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    542 96
    The shop had to follow the law though - so they may not be happy but have to allow the customer to test the product out even if they can't then sell it again as new.
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: alan1302 Member since: Jun 2, 2018
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  18. scm5436

    scm5436 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Some items, in some shops. But not every shop has every item unboxed and on display, and for those that don't it would not be appropriate to start unboxing it and plugging it in. So I guess then you get into an argument about would that particular product reasonably be expected to be on display in a shop that is likely to sell it?

    The whole point of the consumer regs is not to give online buyers an extra set rights above and beyond what they get in shops. The consumer regs just recognise that if you are buying online you may be buying from a website that doesn't provide the full products description or has a lousy picture, and that without physically having the product you are unable to perhaps appreciate the size, weight, colour, texture or whatever and therefore you are entitled to see the product as it would be in a shop and therefore not be disadvantaged. But if it's not on display in a shop you don't get extra rights to go above and beyond that.

    If you see the product in a shop, and there is no display model then you just kind of take your chances when you buy it. If you get it home and it's noisier or shinier or whateverer than you were expecting then you down really have any comeback. Yes the shop may have a policy that it'll take it back no questions asked, but it doesn't have to. It could just say, "you bought it, you keep it" (As long as it's not been mis-sold and works as described). So it's the same with online shopping - you have the same chance to examine it as you would in a shop - which in many cases will be simply that you get to pick up the box and look at the packaging.

    The "functioning" aspect of your arguments is somewhat trickier... But that is clarified further down in the regs:

    (9) If (in the case of a sales contract) the value of the goods is diminished by any amount as a result of handling of the goods by the consumer beyond what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods, the trader may recover that amount from the consumer, up to the contract price.

    (12) For the purposes of paragraph (9) handling is beyond what is necessary to establish the nature, characteristics and functioning of the goods if, in particular, it goes beyond the sort of handling that might reasonably be allowed in a shop.

    So in other words, testing the functionality is only "allowed" if you could do that in the shop. Which then of course comes back to the question of how you decide it the product would be on display in a shop... If there is one shop in the uk with that model on display does that count? Or would it be "if x% of shops that sell this item have it on display"...
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: scm5436 Member since: Nov 22, 2007
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  19. scm5436

    scm5436 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    ok, but it doesn't count unless they might reasonably be allowed to test it in a shop.

    Not unless they might reasonably be allowed to establish the functionality in a shop.

    Nope. Not unless they might reasonably be allowed to test it in a shop.

    No, you have as much right to engage with it as you would reasonably be allowed in a shop. If you go beyond that the seller can deduct any loss of value from the refund.
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: scm5436 Member since: Nov 22, 2007
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  20. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    And because many shops do display products outside of boxes then presumably the person can also open, examine, try etc when buying online.
    They don't know what one particular shop some distance away has out on display.
     
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
    #20