To think this might be against the law

(20 Posts)
KnitsBakesAndReads Wed 02-Nov-16 09:35:02

Recently bought some clothes online which I want to return. In my view they aren't as described but I accept that's subjective (size and colour don't match the description and photos) and someone else might be happy with them.

I've asked the company how I return for a refund and they've said there's a £3.50 "admin charge" for a return and also they won't refund the postage cost I paid them.

From looking at the Consumer Contracts Regulations, I can't see how they are allowed to charge this admin fee or to keep the postage costs I paid. I accept that I need to cover the cost of return postage to them but AIBU to think the other charges aren't reasonable?

TheFreaksShallInheritTheEarth Wed 02-Nov-16 09:42:10

If it's just the case that youve decided you don't like them and the goods are not faulty, then you should pay for postage both ways. A company cant be expected to pay to send things out for approval and lose that money if someone changes their mind.
However, I've never heard of that admin charge you describe, and on that point YANBU

2kids2dogsnosense Wed 02-Nov-16 09:42:39

If the size and colour don't match the description (especially the size - I suppose one person's vision of "azure' might not be quite another's) then I can't see how you should have to pay ANYTHING to return them - the things the sent you aren't the things you ordered. And I would have thought you have a good argument for getting your postage costs returned - and no way should there be an "admin" charge for returns - they've cocked and that's their fault, not yours.

Who did you buy through? If it was somewhere like Amazon, they might be willing to take it up on your behalf. The big difficulty is, that even if the law icon your side (and I'd be pretty sure it was in this instance) actually getting your cash back could be really difficult. Might be worth have a word with CAB auto how to go about it. Some firms just ignore requests and even legal demands because they know it is going to be so difficult for the customer to enforce them.

Sugarlightly Wed 02-Nov-16 09:42:41

Well they can keep the postage costs because they posted it to you - goods being faulty doesn't mean the company didn't incur costs sending them. Obviously put of good will postage costs can be refunded. I've never heard of an admin charge for returning goods but for the most part you don't have any rights in returning good which aren't faulty - you might need to argue this if they aren't as described (obviously colour is difficult to gauge on computer as all computer screens are different, but if they provided measurements for size and they are different in real life then they aren't as described)

2kids2dogsnosense Wed 02-Nov-16 09:43:45

*is on - not icon

DoublePumpkin Wed 02-Nov-16 09:44:38

Technically, you have no legal entitlement to return the items at all if they're not faulty or unfit for purpose.

Returns because you just don't like something are at the company's discretion, although nearly all retailers do do discretionary returns as they'd be at a competitive disadvantage if they didn't.

If those are their terms of return then I don't think there's anything you can contest.

Sugarlightly Wed 02-Nov-16 09:44:43

Oh and also if it actually is deemed faulty I believe they have to refund postage

rabbit12345 Wed 02-Nov-16 09:47:55

The distant selling regulations do not allow for an "admin fee" and they must refund your original postage.

Secondly where did you buy the item? This is important because for example Amazon stipulate that sellers using their clothing and footwear marketplace must offer free returns.

KnitsBakesAndReads Wed 02-Nov-16 09:57:06

Thanks everyone for the advice. I bought the items directly from the company which manufactures them so no hope of asking an intermediary company to help me.

Pumpkin, I bought the items online so I believe the rules are different to buying something in person and mean you do have a right to return goods even if they're not faulty? This is the info I'd seen about it:
www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-contracts-regulations

It's really frustrating as it's not a huge sum of money so I'm not sure it's worth me contacting CAB or anything, but at the same time I'm upset that they want to leave me about £10 out of pocket when in my opinion the items they sent me (which weren't even expensive to begin with!) really aren't as advertised.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 02-Nov-16 10:00:14

The DSR are no longer valid, as of June 2014 - it's now the Consumer Credit Regulations.

You have 14 days to return anything that you bought online. If you let them know that you're intending to return it within the 14 days, using the method that they request, it doesn't matter if the items are returned back outside of that period (within reason).

If you paid for standard delivery, the seller has to refund this - if you paid for a different delivery method, the seller refunds the standard only. For clarity, that's the original postage out to you.

Who pays the return postage depends on the T&Cs - if it doesn't say in their T&Cs that you have to pay return postage, they have to cover it. If it does, you'll need to pay to return the items securely to the address given. It's advisable to get a tracking number.

Admin fees are not permitted. If you've damaged the item, such as scuffing shoes, the refund may be reduced by the reduction in value, if their T&Cs made you aware of this in advance. You cannot be forced to return in original packaging, although packaging must be adequate.

The seller has 14 days from receipt of the goods back to refund you.

AnchorDownDeepBreath Wed 02-Nov-16 10:00:34

Ahem, Consumer Contracts Regulations. Working and MNing!

ProfYaffle Wed 02-Nov-16 10:07:34

CAB have a dedicated consumer helpline, might be worth a quick call, they're very good. 03454 04 05 06

budgiegirl Wed 02-Nov-16 10:09:11

Technically, you have no legal entitlement to return the items at all if they're not faulty or unfit for purpose.

That's true for goods bought in a shop, but not for goods bought on the internet.

lacktoastandtolerance Wed 02-Nov-16 10:21:38

*DoublePumpkin Wed 02-Nov-16 09:44:38
Technically, you have no legal entitlement to return the items at all if they're not faulty or unfit for purpose.

Returns because you just don't like something are at the company's discretion*

This is completely incorrect for any products you buy online.

The retailer does not have to pay for your postage to return the goods, but they do have to refund the postage costs you paid (if you paid extra for special delivery then they only have to refund what the basic postage rate would have been).

As far as I know they cannot charge you an admin or restocking fee if you are a consumer.

pourmeanotherdrink Wed 02-Nov-16 10:53:44

OP, what Anchor said is correct. Ignore some of those earlier posts. Not sure why people reply when clearly they don't know anything about the relevant law here.

If the company sent the wrong size or colour and it's not just a case of you changing you mind, they also have to cover your return postage.

DoublePumpkin Wed 02-Nov-16 11:00:47

I stand corrected! Ignore me.

Ceic Wed 02-Nov-16 11:34:32

Apparently, the cost of returned good is a huge burden on retailers. I heard an item on the radio about the massive processing warehouse where staff check and prep goods before they are put back on sale.

Can't blame the company for wanting to charge an admin fee. However, they should only charge you what consumer law says they can.

KnitsBakesAndReads Thu 03-Nov-16 09:33:28

Thanks so much for the advice everyone. I contacted the company again and said I don't believe that by law they're entitled to charge the admin fee or refuse to refund the standard delivery fee I paid them. They've said that their T&Cs state that this is how they deal with returns (which isn't even true as I looked at the T&Cs on their site when I ordered and it says nothing about an admin fee) so I'll only receive a refund less the admin fee and postage costs.

It's only a small sum of money but it really annoys me that they think they're above the law like this. I also feel sorry for anyone who ends up being forced to keep goods that aren't suitable as they can't afford to lose this money to return them.

So, if I wanted to lodge a complaint about them ignoring the law like this, who would I complain to? I looked online and thought it might be Trading Standards, is that right?

Thanks again for all the advice.

2kids2dogsnosense Thu 03-Nov-16 19:52:40

They've said that their T&Cs state that this is how they deal with returns (which isn't even true as I looked at the T&Cs on their site when I ordered and it says nothing about an admin fee) so I'll only receive a refund less the admin fee and postage costs

Even if their And C's state this, I would think it only applies if they have sent the correct items, and they are not to your taste/don't sit you.

However, they sent the wrong ones - incorrect size/colour. THIS IS THEIR INCOMPETENCE and you shouldn't suffer for it.

It may not be much money, but it is YOUR money - and to them, it will adde up to a huge sum if they do this a lot.

Theoretically they could deliberately send out the wrong items and just charge the admin for their return and make their money off that. They wouldn't even need much stock as they could send out the some items over and over.

Have a word with CAB, and also try to find out if there is any way you can warn other buyers - this is sharp practice to me.

Seacatses Thu 03-Nov-16 21:00:05

It doesn't matter what their t&c say - the law trumps those. Email back to say exactly that and threaten to take it further. That usually works.

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