Bought a dress in the sales only to discover the lining is ripped! What about those shoes on sale that you just cannot squeeze into- can you return them? But wait, the shop’s sign said no refunds during a sale. So what next?
No wonder it is hard to know what your rights are during a sale. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has a quick guide to the facts:
#1: Summer sales don’t change your consumer rights
If something you bought on sale turns out to be faulty, your consumer rights are the same as any other time of the year. In all cases, what you buy must be as described to you, fit for the intended purpose and be of satisfactory quality. If you bought something that turns out to be faulty you have a number of options depending on the problem. These include a repair, replacement, reduction in the price or a full refund.
#2: There is no time limit on returning something you bought during a sale
The law does not state a specific time limit on when you need to return something you bought during a sale. However, once you notice a fault with any item, you should return it as soon as possible to the shop, explain what has happened and show them proof of purchase. This can be your receipt, or a copy of your debit or credit card statement. The outcome you get will depend on how the item was used and also the length of time it took you to return it.
#3: Signs in stores don’t restrict your rights during a sale
Shop notices such as “No Refunds” or “No Exchanges” do not limit your rights when it comes to faulty goods. Some shops display these notices, particularly during the sales, but this does not take away your rights if the goods are faulty. In fact, it is an offence for a business to make a statement that implies your consumer rights are restricted.
#4: If something you buy is faulty, you are still entitled to a refund of the full price or a replacement of the same value
If an item you bought at full price turns out to be faulty and is now on sale, you are entitled to a refund of the full price you paid or a replacement of the same value. You don’t have to accept a refund of the lower sale price if the goods are faulty.
#5: You are not entitled to a refund if you change your mind on something you bought during a sale
If you change your mind, or perhaps the item doesn’t fit, you do not have rights under consumer law. If you return the item, the shop does not have to offer you a refund or a replacement. Many shops will accept returns if you have proof of purchase and give you an exchange or refund within a certain amount of time after you buy. But this is a gesture of goodwill and some shops may only offer an exchange or refund on non-sale items.
# 6: Shops can change their returns policy during a sale
A shop can change its policy on returns or exchanges, especially during sales periods. Some shops may offer a refund or exchange on sale items but you may have to bring the items back in a shorter period of time than if they were sold at full price. Always check the returns policy before you buy. If a shop does offer exchanges or refunds if you change your mind they may only give you a refund in the form of a credit note or gift voucher for the shop, rather than giving you your money back.
Find out more about your rights during the sales on the CCPC’s website www.ccpc.ie