How to Get a Refund

Too big, too small, the wrong colour or an unwanted gift; you can usually get a refund in most high-street stores, as they have generous returns policies which go far beyond what’s expected by law. They’ll often refund you in cash or back on the card that was used for the purchase, providing you’ve got the receipt, or on a store gift card if not.

But they don’t have to; this is a goodwill gesture on their part which, being so big, they can afford to do; but smaller outlets can’t usually match this, so always make sure you check a store’s refund policy before you buy. Don’t just assume they’ll swap or refund you simply because most of the other high-street stores do.

Some items, like food and cosmetics, are exempt from refunds (unless damaged or faulty) due to hygiene reasons. If, however, you’ve bought the item online, by phone or mail order, the rules are different, as you haven’t had the chance to see the goods before buying, so you have at least seven working days from the date of delivery to return the item for a refund.

High-street refunds

Here’s what some of the big high-street names offer on unwanted purchases:

  • Marks & Spencer – 35 days for a refund with receipt; with­out one you’ll get an exchange or credit vouchers to the last selling price.
  • Argos – 30-day money-back guarantee, providing the item is unused, in its original packaging and with the receipt.
  • John Lewis – 28 days for a refund with receipt, providing the item is in its original undamaged packaging.
  • Next – 28 days for a refund with receipt; without one you’ll get an exchange or refund at the last selling price on a gift card.

Refunds on sale items

In this situation you’ve got the same rights as you have when paying full price. That means refunds, repairs or replacements for faulty or damaged goods, providing you’ve got proof of pur­chase. Most larger stores will offer goodwill refunds on unwanted sale items, providing you’ve got the receipt.

The law is strict on sale items and stores can only class items as ‘sale’ goods if they’ve genuinely been sold previously at a higher price. This stops stores shipping in a load of rubbish and making you think you’ve got a bargain because you bought it in the ‘sale’.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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