Q: As the owner of a small retail shop we are very busy with our January Sale, what do we need to consider for any returns of goods?
A: Retail businesses need to adhere to the new guidelines within the UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 that came into effect on 1st October 2015.
The three key areas to note are that goods must be sold as described, be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.
A retailer is required to give a full refund for faulty goods returned within 30 days. Items returned after this time period (up to 6 months) only need to be refunded if the item cannot be repaired or replaced. There are certain circumstances where a consumer may be entitled to some money back on items returned within 6 years of purchase if they have not lasted a reasonable length of time.
Consumers do not have any legal right to ask for a refund or a replacement because they have changed their mind about the purchase, however some retailers do operate an additional returns policy where items can be returned or exchanged within a period of time i.e. 28 days from purchase. This can create good-will with customers and be beneficial for maintaining long term consumer loyalty, so you need to check what your returns policy actually states.
You don’t specify the type of products you sell, so it is worth noting that the new Consumer Rights Act also covers Digital Content purchases, for example software, music, films, e-books, computer games and apps that can be downloaded directly from an online retailer to a device i.e. pc, tablet, mobile phone or game player.