Hello. This dropped in my email box recently. I don't know the exact answer to the readers questions, so perhaps you could help me. I can only write as I see it, I am not the encyclopedia of all knowledge, ha ha.
Edited to include the key points. Text speak removed and replaced.
I write to ask if you could answer some questions re returns as you covered this in one post.
I have bought a number of items from charity shops including clothes, electrical, dvds. When things don't work eg a dvd wont play, an electrical item fault, zip broke on clothing first time worn.
I have a number of charity shops refusing to refund money even with proof of purchase for these things. What would you do in these circumstances and do you know if there is a right to refund the same as High Street shops?
I am frustrated by this I have lost money. I have also bought boots from a charity shop but the buckle broke on first use and not fixable. They were for formal occasions so cant wear them broken. Should charities refund?
Charities also differ in their guarantees on electrics. Some say they tested them themselves so wont hear of a fault and refund, some say 28 days if faulty, other 6 months. I thought by law you automatically got 1 yr guarantee. Or does this differ on second hand goods?
Finally, the receipt does not specify the exact item. Eg it will just say 'electrical', not iron or hairdryer etc. I've had High Street shops refuse refunds saying 'I could have bought the item anywhere' and they cant identify it as theirs, so refuse refund. What would you do here? Money scare and I need refunds !
Is unopened food refundable? Eg tins of tomatoes over bought from supermarket if have receipt?
Thanks for your help.
My own personal view on this is that if I had checked the goods I was buying at the shop and all seemed in order, and the price was right, and I found that something was wrong with it when I got it home, I would take it back to the shop if it was more than a couple of quid, and expect a refund. If it was a cheapo purchase I would give it back to the charity shop as a donation.
The trouble with returning faulty goods is that they may not believe your story. If they left the shop in good order, how did they become faulty. It might be an idea to get them to plug in an electrical item before you leave the shop so you can see that it works. Zips in clothing do break, but shouldn't with normal handling. I think I have only had a couple of zips break on me in thirty odd years.
I can't comment on guarantees, best to ask at the counter at the time of buying. Make a mental note of the person who served you so you can mention them when you go back.
About your boots. It depends how much they cost, are they fashion boots, did you walk a long way in them, and could you take them to a cobbler for repair? Electrical items from a charity shop should work because it is the law that they should be PAT tested.
I am pretty sure a shop doesn't have to give a refund if you have bought too many tins of tomatoes, and there is nothing wrong with them. Put them in the cupboard they will get used eventually. Next time you food shop make a list before you go so you don't overbuy.
I think to be successful at getting refunds is down to being polite, but firm. Not storming in, plonking something on the counter, and demanding money back. Attitude plays a big part in this. Give the assistant as much information as you can. What exactly happened, describe the circumstances leading up to the failure of said item doing what it is supposed to do.
Whether you take something back or not is between you and your conscience. Neglect on the shops side should result in a refund, neglect on the customers side (talking about me), I would cut my losses and chalk it up to experience. I would take responsibility and say I messed up, I couldn't lie to gain a refund.
There is a lot of information out there on charity shop refunds, it is discussed a lot on forums. I think the short answer is that they do have to give refunds on faulty goods, the same as an ordinary shop. But they may impose time restrictions, so that if you have been using something for six months and it finally breaks they can question you on how often the item was used during that time.
I've found these links for you.
Which consumer rights on second hand clothes.
NetMums. Taking an item back to a charity shop
MSE Forum. Charity shop returns
Gov UK giving refunds.
Age UK. Shopping on the High street. Your rights.
Choose. Buying second hand.
Charity Retail Association
That's some reading to be going on with. If anyone else has any views on returning goods to charity shops. please post a comment. Summing up, it looks like they do legally have to give a refund, but it's not always clear cut. A lot depends on the shops own refund policy, which should be made clear at the time of purchase.
Thanks for popping in, I have stuff to do. We'll catch up soon.
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