Know Your Consumer Rights When Shopping Online

It used to be so much easier when we all did any sort of shopping on the High Street. We made a trip to our local town, we tried things on before we bought them, and if there was any issue, we had a receipt and we physically took them back. As Teresa May, or Orlaf the Meerkat might say, it was ‘Simples’.

But now many of us do the majority of our shopping online. We can’t try before we buy, or even actually see and handle the goods to make a judgement about fit, quality or appearance. This means we sometimes receive things that are not quite as we expected them, reviews on fashion sites can often attest to this, with comments about the colour being different than expected, or the fabric being stiffer, or more see thru than the online picture suggests. So what if you do receive something that you don’t want to keep.

The good news is that your consumer rights are the same whether you buy from a store or online. Once you have received an item , you have 14 days initially to let the company know you are sending it back, for whatever reason. You may need to request a returns label, or there may have been one sent with the packaging. If you have any queries, like maybe your items haven’t been sent in full, or something is damaged in transit, you could email the company, or, if you prefer to speak to someone in person, you could probably find the number on the website, or,if it is not there or well hidden, you could find it through Contact Numbers, who have everything from ASOS Customer Service  to the notoriously hard to find Amazon and Sky.

When you are returning an item, either by Royal Mail or Courier, you need to get a proof of postage to show that you returned it in good faith, this will often have a number on it that you can then use as a reference if your item is lost on its return. From contacting the company, you have a further 14 days to actually send it back.

You should then receive your refund within 14 days of the item going back to the supplier. Martin Lewis, of Money Saving Expert also clarifies the situation when it comes to post and packaging refunds, saying:

Your refund must include the least expensive delivery option but if you chose a more expensive delivery you’ll need to cover the difference. Be sure to specifically ask for delivery to be included as some stores don’t add it automatically.

Make sure any returns are securely packaged up, preferably in the original packaging if at all possible, and make sure you fill in any returns documents and place these in the package too.

Buying online does not mean that you forfeit any of your original consumer rights, you just need to make sure you know what they are.