Consumer guide to returning goods

Last updated 07:54 29/12/2013

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Thinking of returning that Christmas pressie? Read this first. 

My child's gift broke:

Minor fault: The retailer can choose between repairing it, replacing it, or giving you a refund. If the retailer refuses to fix the problem or takes longer than is reasonable, ask for your money back.

Serious fault: The buyer gets to choose between a refund, asking for a replacement or keeping the goods but receiving a discounted price.

I'm told I can have a credit note as a refund:

A refund means exactly that - a full cash refund - not a credit note, and not a refund less deductions for anything related to the failure of the goods.

No refunds on sales goods:

Retailers who refuse refunds on Boxing Day sales items are breaking the law. The retailer is legally obliged to replace, repair or refund faulty goods.

I hate my new jumper:

A retailer is not legally obliged to exchange or refund goods because you change your mind or don't like a gift. However, some retailers offer exchange or return policies. Generally the tags must still be attached.

Look for return conditions on a retailer's website or the sales receipt. If they don't have an exchange policy, consider listing the new Christmas reindeer jumper on TradeMe.

My wife doesn't like her new necklace. Can I get a refund?

No. If you change your mind, all you can do is politely ask for your money back. The retailer is under no obligation to refund you.

Online shopping:

Many online clothing retailers offer exchange policies for items that do not fit. This is a decision made by individual retailers and is not legally required. If a jumper doesn't match its online description, the company must replace or refund the goods and cover postage.

Our new fan short-circuited and burned a hole in the wall:

The shop must pay for replacing the fan and reimburse you for the damage.

I changed my mind on a flat-screen telly:

There are exceptions to the rules. If you signed a credit contract for a new television but the goods are yet to be delivered, you have the right to cancel the contract within three days of purchase.

A toaster must be a toaster:

Goods must also be fit for their purpose and be of acceptable quality. A $200 toaster should last you longer and be of higher quality than a $10 one. You can take the items back if they are not up to scratch.

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- The Press


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