Know your shopping rights before Black Friday

Ahead of the Black Friday Christmas shopping frenzy, Which? reveals that many of us don’t know that our rights when returning goods differ when we shop online and in store.  

Which? asked over 2,000 shoppers whether they thought they had the same consumer rights when it comes to returning non-faulty goods when they shopped online or in store, and found that over half (52%) incorrectly assumed they were the same, whilst one in five (19%) admitted they didn’t know. Only three in ten (29%) shoppers correctly thought there was a difference.

When shopping online, online shops must guarantee a 14 day returns window for non-faulty goods, however on the high street your rights can differ from store to store. We found most shoppers (74%) were unaware of this. Six in ten (58%) either incorrectly believed they were legally entitled to a refund if they changed their mind about a non-faulty purchase made in store, or didn’t know whether they were or not. Only four in ten (41%) shoppers knew they weren’t guaranteed a full refund if they bought an unwanted item in store.

If you change your mind about something you buy, it’s important you know how to find out about your consumer rights and how to exercise them. If you’re planning to start your Christmas shopping in the Black Friday sales this week, make sure you’re up in the know.

The Which? Consumer Rights site provides free online advice on all your shopping rights, including:

  • Your return rights may be stronger if you shop online – you are legally entitled to a full refund for a non-faulty, online purchase if you change your mind within 14 days of delivery, but this may not be the case if you bought it in store.

  • But, be aware of online scams – it’s always best to double-check the domain name of the website you’re buying from and beware of unusual payment methods, like bank transfers.

  • Your return rights for non-faulty products may vary from store to store – whilst some stores may choose to offer a full refund for a product you no longer want, others may disappoint consumers by offering a credit note,an exchange or nothing.

  • If you’re shopping on the high street, make sure you check the individual return policy at the till.

  • Not all products will be cheapest on Black Friday itselfOur research found that only 8% of the Black Friday deals we checked from  last year were cheapest on Black Friday itself.

  • Test your knowledge before you hit the shops! Take the Which? Consumer Rights quiz here:

  • Make sure you’re ready with the facts before Black Friday by visiting:

Alex Neill, Managing Director of Home and Legal at Which? said:

“As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, it’s important to do your research so you know your shopping rights before you buy, just in case you change your mind.”

Notes to Editors 

  1. Which? Consumer Rights is providing free and independent online advice on your returns and exchange rights, to prepare you for the Black Friday weekend and beyond.

  1. We analysed the data from 2119 respondents from the general population, who were surveyed by Populus on behalf of Which? between the 2nd and 3rd November 2016.

  1. Which? Consumer Rights lists some of your shopping rights to be aware of ahead of Black Friday:

  • Difference of rights when you shop online/in-store: If you buy online, you have additional rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations. Bar a few exceptions for things like personalised products, these give you 14 days from the time of delivery to return the product for a full refund if it’s not faulty.

  • Why high street shops can alter their non-faulty goods return rights: You can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer allows it. It’s worth noting that shops aren’t required by law to have a returns policy but, if they do, they must at least stick to it or better it. Most shops’ returns policies have time limits for returning non-faulty products, often 28 days. But sometimes they extend this period – especially at Christmas – so you might have more time than you think. Check when you buy. If you buy online, you have additional rights in relation to non-faulty products under the Consumer Contracts Regulations

  • Faulty goods return rights: We recommend that you go to the retailer in the first instance, rather than using a warranty. This is because there are strict provisions in the Consumer Rights Act that retailers must follow. Move quickly, though, as you only have 30 days in which to reject something that’s faulty and get your money back. Your rights don’t end after 30 days but, from then on, the retailer has the option of repairing or replacing the faulty product in the first instance, rather than having to give you a refund.

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