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'DFS wanted to charge me a £700 restocking fee'

Your rights if a retailer tries to charge you for a return

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

Dear Which?,

I ordered a sofa set from DFS costing almost £3,500. When the sofa arrived, I was disappointed to find the fabric didn't look how I was expecting. I didn't realise from the small swatch sent by DFS that the fabric would have a mottled effect.

I contacted DFS to request a return but they told me a hefty fee of 20% - £700 in total - would be deducted from the refund.

DFS claimed this was a standard restocking fee and later pointed me to a clause in its T&Cs which states that a deduction of up to 20% is made to returns to cover the cost of collecting items.

I feel it's excessive for DFS to charge the full 20% fee - particularly as the swatch didn't match the sofa I'd received. I have a right to return and deducting £700 is way above what it actually costs to pick up the sofas.

Please can you help explain my rights?

Katie (a pseudonym)

Put to Rights

Hannah Downes, consumer rights expert at Which?, says:

It must have been quite a surprise to receive a sofa that looked nothing like the sample swatch, Katie.

When something you order online doesn’t look the same when it finally turns up at your door in real life, you do have rights that entitle you to a full refund. 

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that goods supplied by a retailer must match any description given, or samples shown to you, at the time of purchase.

If the product doesn't match its description at the point of purchase, you can ask for your money back.

You also have a minimum of 14 days from the day you receive an online order to request a return and a full refund under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

If there's nothing wrong with your product, you've just decided you don't want it, the retailer can ask you to pay for returning the item. But in your case, Katie, as the product didn't match the swatch, you'd be entitled to a full refund including return delivery costs.

We asked DFS to explain this fee and they later contacted Katie to confirm that the fabric colour shown online was not representative of the sofa she received.

DFS apologised and agreed to refund Katie for the total value of the order.

Need to know

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

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