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I want to cancel an order or return an item I’ve bought online by phone or in my home

What are my rights?

When you buy goods from a trader either online, by telephone or in your home, you have a 14-day period (starting from the day after delivery) in which to send the goods back to the trader for a full refund including any standard postage costs. This means that if you have paid for next day delivery you will only be refunded the cost of the traders’ standard postage.

There are some purchases were the trader does not have to give you the right to return them. Some examples of this are;

  • items that have been made to order or personalised
  • food items with a short shelf life
  • earrings or underwear were there could an issue of hygiene
  • DVDs or computer games and software that you have removed from the sealed packaging.

Who should pay the return costs?

It will fall to you to pay for returning any unwanted goods unless the traders terms and conditions state that they will cover the cost. When returning the goods to the trader, it is best to do this by signed for mail, so you track its delivery.

Items don’t have to be returned in the original packaging, if the terms and conditions state that original packaging must be used then this may be considered an “unfair contract term”. Items should however be packaged carefully as any damage caused could affect your refund. It may also affect your refund if the value of the items has been reduced for example a piece of clothing that you’ve worn or damaged.

Once you have returned the goods and the trader has received them, they have 14 days to refund you and this should be by the same method you used to pay them.

What should I do next?

If you haven’t already done so then you should try to speak with the trader about your problem to see if you can to come to an agreement. You can then follow this up with a more formal letter of complaint. It’s best to send this by signed for mail which will allow you to check that it’s been received, alternatively you could send an email with a read receipt. You should also give the trader a reasonable timescale to reply.

Last updated: 29 March 2019

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