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‘Primark won’t refund me after covid delayed my return’

What to do if you're self-isolating and miss a retailer's returns window

‘Primark won’t refund me after covid delayed my return’

Do you have an issue you need put right? Which? is here to help get your consumer problems sorted.

Dear Which?

I purchased some items in-store at Primark and later decided I wanted to return them.

Unfortunately, I then tested positive for coronavirus and missed the 28-day returns window.

When my isolation came to an end I went to Primark to explain my situation and try to return the items anyway. This was only two days outside the returns period but the manager wouldn’t refund me.

I messaged Primark’s customer service team on Twitter and was told refunds and exchanges are at the manager’s discretion and they’re unable to offer me a refund.

It seems unfair I can’t get a refund because I was self-isolating – can you help get me?

Robert Earle, Southport

Put to Rights

Hannah Downes consumer rights expert at Which? says:

Thanks for getting in touch, Robert. It’s understandable you’re feeling a bit miffed by Primark’s response – why should you be penalised for doing the right thing and staying at home?

A positive covid test shouldn’t have to lead to a negative returns experience. We’ve kept a close eye on retailers’ returns policies throughout the pandemic and, for the most part, retailers extended their returns windows to allow customers to take back items when it’s safe to do so.

Now that covid restrictions have eased, it’s not always clear whether retailers will accept late returns if you’re having to isolate.

We asked Primark to reconsider issuing you a refund and updating their policy so that all customers having to self-isolate can have peace of mind when wanting to make a return.

Primark re-stated that it has a 28-day returns window and that any returns outside this period (including for covid related isolation requirements) are at the discretion of each store’s manager.

It did add that store managers will endeavour to assist customers where possible while taking into consideration each situation – though, of course, this was not your experience.

The good news is that, after we explained your situation, Primark told us it will in fact refund you for your unwanted items and it’s in contact with your local store manager to arrange this.

We’re pleased that Primark’s now done the right thing – but other customers should take note that store managers could refuse any returns past 28 days.

If you find yourself in this situation, follow our tips below to try and get your money back. And get in touch at yourstory@which.co.uk if you come across any other retailers refusing late returns affected by covid.

Need to know

  • If you miss a retailer’s returns window due to having covid, take a screenshot of the self-isolation notification or test result on your phone to prove you were unable to leave your home.
  • Contact their customer service team as soon as possible to let them know you’ll be making a late return. Try to get confirmation in writing that they’ll accept the return.
  • Retailer not responding or refusing a refund? You can make a chargeback claim (if you paid by debit card) or a Section 75 claim (if you paid by credit card) with your bank.

Get in touch. If you’ve got a consumer rights problem you need put right email us at yourstory@which.co.uk

Please be aware that we cannot help with, or respond to every email that we receive. The inbox is monitored periodically during office hours, Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

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