Here are some favourite tricks used by retailers online or on the High Street to deny us our consumer rights:
Keep reading because at the end we tell you of a scam which is literally making your receipts disappear…
- Customers told to send faulty items back to manufacturers. WRONG! The buyer has a contract with the retailer, not with the manufacturer who may not even have a representative in this country, let alone be geared up to deal with faulty items.
- Goods are not designed for a long life. WRONG! Goods have to be fit for purpose, simple as that – and goods should not disintegrate the day after a warranty expires!
- Fault must be down to the consumer. WRONG! That’s almost impossible to prove, however, if an item fails in its first six months, then it should be treated as if it had not worked from the start.
- No refund or return without a receipt. WRONG! When an item fails, shops do not have the right to demand a receipt. A credit card slip or statement or even the say-so of a person who was present when the products were purchased, are enough.
- No return on sale goods. WRONG! Customers always have full rights to a refund or an exchange if goods are faulty, the price they were sold at being immaterial.
- Restocking-fees for returned goods are legal. WRONG! Under the Distance Selling Regulations, consumers have up to seven days to send back items bought on the internet or by phone or mail order without being charged. But they can reject items such as CDs where the seal has been broken.
And now for those disappearing receipts .. shoppers are facing problems because retailers use thermal printers and heat-sensitive paper to save money which means the receipts can fade if exposed to light and body heat. This causes problems for people who buy extended warranties on products
Campaigners have urged customers to complain to the Retail Ombudsman and warned that retailers refusing to accept a faded receipt or warranty would be ‘breaking the spirit’ of laws designed to protect consumers’ rights.
Argos for one has acknowledged that its receipts faded but said customers could use bank statements as proof of purchase. TConsumer groups advise customers to print out a bank statement as proof of purchase if a shop refuses to accept a faded receipt.
James Daley, managing director of Fairer Finance, said anyone still turned away should complain to the Retail Ombudsman. ‘It is not consumers’ responsibility to ensure receipts are durable,’ he added. ‘Any retailer who refuses to accept a faded receipt is skating on very thin ice and would be breaching the spirit of laws protecting consumers. They would stand little chance in court.’
Retailers are not legally obliged to issue receipts in shops, meaning there are no rules on their longevity and quality.