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Early Learning Centre's new refund policy - is it legal?

(13 Posts)
stillhere Mon 05-Oct-09 22:27:07

I was bought a present by a relative at the other end of the country for my 1 year old's birthday from ELC and he sent it by post, thoughtfully enclosing an ELC plastic bag but no gift receipt. I didn't want to tell him that we already had this item but had planned to take it back and exchange it for something more appropriate. I've never had problems doing this in the past with ELC and the item hadn't even been taken out of its box.

Went to my local branch on Saturday and they said they couldn't help at all without a receipt and anything outside of 28 days (which this was likely to be, as it was sent a week or two before the birthday) would not be refunded or exchanged either. No refund possible (but I wasn't expecting this), or an exchange or a credit note. The shop assistant who told us this said it was a new policy that she didn't agree with either, but there was nothing she could do about it. I was stunned.

Is this legal? What about statutory rights? Walked out of ELC in disgust and am planning to boycott them in the meantime but wanted to know if anyone else had come across this, or had any feedback on the legality or otherwise of their position?

Hope someone can help or share their experiences/feedback! Thanks. smile

Bramshott Mon 05-Oct-09 22:29:57

I think that without a receipt or gift receipt, it is always down to the discretion of the shop - they're not obliged to offer a refund or a credit note.

hatwoman Mon 05-Oct-09 22:30:41

afaik statutory rights to refund or exchange on an item taht doesn;t have a fault are quite limited. I know that buying on-line you have a week in which to "cancel" your order. I'm not sure about in shops. quite possibly you have none at it and you get quickly to a govt advice website (I had to do this recently for something different)

SixtyFootDoll Mon 05-Oct-09 22:31:42

Shops only have to refund/ exchange if the goods are faulty
Anything else is discretionary.

BoysAreLikeDogs Mon 05-Oct-09 22:31:46

Well I would think that proof of purchase is needed no matter what the reason for the return of the item.

a bit of info here

obv you can google statutory rights yourself if you like

DailyMailNameChanger Mon 05-Oct-09 22:32:45

Bramshot is right, refund/exchange where the goods are not faulty has always been something shops offer because they are nice (hmm) rather than because they are obliged to.

Any chance you could put it on Amazon?

CybilLiberty Mon 05-Oct-09 22:33:03

Why be stunned? Why should they change it if it's not broken? It would be a 'goodwill' gesture if they did and in this current climate, they are under no pressure to do so.

Lots of shops do this now. no receipt, no refund or exchange. You have no 'statutory right' to a refund/exchange/credit note.

ramonaquimby Mon 05-Oct-09 22:33:46

try another elc?

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Mon 05-Oct-09 22:36:13

I've experienced this with other shops. I'm not a lawyer but, as I understand it, you have no rights here. The goods were not damaged or faulty - in which case you do have some legal rights - so whether you get a refund or exchange is entirely up to the shop. Shops used to give refunds in this kind of situation for the sake of goodwill. Now they don't. I heard on the radio a few days ago that even M&S has made its refund policy less generous (although still the most generous on the high street, they say).

MadBadandDangerousToKnow Mon 05-Oct-09 22:37:38

Oops. Multiple cross-post.

lal123 Tue 06-Oct-09 20:19:31

As folk have said above - you have no statutory rights here - the shops contract is with the person who bought the item - not with you, and they need proof of purchase to return (Oh - and the goods need to be faulty in some way)

stillhere Thu 08-Oct-09 21:54:11

Thanks for all your feedback, people. I was very grumpy, although obviously without any legal reason.

I might try giving ELC a call anyway to see whether that bears any fruit - one of the reasons I was surprised was that I had brought something back to ELC (faulty, but over 4 years old) just a few months before and had been pleasantly surprised how willing they were to take it back in exchange for a credit note. In my professional life I tend to err on the side of goodwill because I think it pays dividends in the long run but I'm sure you're right CybilLiberty, they're probably tightening their belts in the current climate.

Hey ho. Thanks again - much appreciated.

babybarrister Tue 13-Oct-09 12:59:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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