I want to return something bought online

High street shops don't have to accept returns unless an item is faulty, but online purchases are covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

The Consumer Contracts Regulations

When you buy goods online you have additional rights to return them.

This is because your decision may be based on a brief description or a photograph – so what you receive isn't always quite what you’d expected.

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have the right to return your order up to 14 days from the day you receive your goods.

Many online retailers extend this even further, so be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully as you may have longer to return unwanted items.

Summary

  • The Consumer Contracts Regulations give you 14 calendar days from the day you receive your goods to cancel
  • You are responsible for returning the item within 14 calendar days of cancelling and refunds must be paid within 14 calendar days after returning the goods, or evidence that they were returned
  • You still have rights under the Consumer Rights Act for returning faulty goods bought online

Returns and refunds

The Consumer Contracts Regulations allow you to return an item if you simply change your mind.

You are responsible for returning the items within 14 calendar days of cancelling and refunds must be paid within 14 calendar days after returning the goods, or evidence that they were returned.

Proof of postage should be sufficient evidence of returning goods.

Returning faulty goods bought online

The Consumer Contracts Regulations are in addition to your other legal rights.  

So, if your goods are faulty and don’t do what they're supposed to, or don’t match the description given, you have the same rights under the Consumer Rights Act as you have when buying face to face.

Any terms and conditions that say you must cover the cost of returning an item don't apply where the goods being returned are faulty.

If you are looking to return your item because it is faulty, read our guide on what to do if you need to return a faulty product.

Should I accept credit notes for returns?

The retailer may have a returns policy stating that it will only give customers a credit note or vouchers for returns. But this must only apply where customers are looking to return an unwanted item. Additionally, if you are returning your online order up to or within the 14 days from the day you received your goods, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations you can ask for a refund rather than a credit note.

The seller’s returns policy also can't require customers to take vouchers where an item has been returned due to it being faulty. The Consumer Rights Act specifies the rights that consumers have if products develop a fault and the seller can’t remove or reduce these. 

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