What consumer rights do I have if I change my mind?
The rights for the consumer to change their mind only apply to distance and off premises contracts. However, many retailers have put in place a returns policy enabling you to return goods within a specified timeframe for a refund, exchange or credit note.
- Distance selling: the cancellation period starts when you place your order and ends 14 days after the goods have been received.
- Off premises: the cancellation period starts the day the consumer has entered into the contract for the service and ends 14 days later.
For both distance and off-premises sales, if the trader fails to provide the required information about your cancelation rights, your right to cancel will be extended to 14 days from when this is provided (up to a maximum of a year and 14 days).
If you wish to change your mind about receiving a product or service, remember:
- for goods, you have 14 days from when you placed your order to 14 days after the day of delivery to cancel
- for services, you have 14 days from the day of entering into the contract for that service
- you do not have to use the supplier’s cancellation form to cancel; it could be verbal – however, it’s a good idea to cancel in writing
- you do not have to give a reason
- the burden of proof of cancellation lies with you the consumer (a voice message will qualify)
- the supplier has 14 days to refund your money from when they get the goods back or you provide them with proof you have returned them
- goods can be opened for inspection – but clearly not used or handled excessively; if they are, you can still return them, although the seller may be able to make a deduction from the refund for any reduction in value as a result
- the standard delivery charge should be refunded (the seller can retain any extra you paid for enhanced (such as, next day) delivery.
However, be aware of these specific rules.
- If you receive a service (for example, physiotherapy treatment), and you ask for the service to be provided during the 14-day cancellation period, your right to cancel will end when the service has been provided in full.
- If, at your request, a provider begins to work on a service (such as installing a walk-in shower), before the 14-days cancellation period has elapsed and you change your mind before they have finished the work, the trader can charge you for the work done to date. If the trader makes a deduction in this way, they must explain this as part of the information they are required to provide to you about your cancellation rights.
- Normal cancellation rights do not apply to emergency repairs. So if you have called someone out to fix your stairlift or scooter as an emergency, you may still be charged if you decide not to go ahead.
- Bespoke products may well be exempted from cancellation rights. For example, if you have ordered a riser recliner chair to meet your size and shape, and have specified a non-standard material, it may not be possible to cancel if you have changed your mind. There are some other exceptions to the right to cancel, such as goods that aren’t suitable for return due to health protection or hygiene reasons, if they become unsealed after delivery.
- Even though you pay for prescriptions, they are nevertheless exempt from your rights to cancel.
Any right to cancel is separate from rights you have where goods aren’t as described, fit for purpose or of satisfactory quality, and services aren’t provided with reasonable care and skill. So if the bespoke item you order arrives damaged or faulty, you still have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to reject it for a refund or ask for it to be repaired or replaced.
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