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Returning a Gift to the Shop

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 29 Jun 2020 | comments*Discuss
 
Returning A Gift To The Shop

“My mother bought me a skirt for Christmas which turned out to be too small for me. I didn’t want to upset her by telling her so I took it back to the local branch (it was from a high street chain store) to get the right size, but they'd sold out.

I asked if they would give me my money back so that I could find something more suitable, and they said that all they would do, as I don’t have a receipt, is give me a credit note. Not only that, but the credit note would only be for the price it’s now on sale at, which is 25% less than what mum bought it for (she left the label on, bless her.)

What can I do?”

Advice - Your Rights as a Consumer

Oh dear, this is a tricky one. Unfortunately, because you didn’t buy the skirt yourself, you don’t have any rights against the retailer, even if the skirt was faulty. It comes down to simple contract law, in that there is no legal contract between you and the shop, so they are fully entitled to say that they won’t do anything.

Most retailers are usually quite willing to offer over and above what the law says that they must, but they don’t have to. Another problem is the lack of a receipt or any proof of purchase (it doesn’t have to be a till receipt, it can also be a credit card statement or anything that shows how much you paid, and when.) You have no way of proving the price that your mother paid for the skirt, so as it’s currently on sale, the shop is quite likely to offer you a credit note for that amount and not the original amount.

Your Rights when You’ve Bought the Wrong Size

If there’s nothing actually wrong with the skirt, it’s just the wrong size; again there is no legal obligation for the retailer to give you a refund. Bigger shops will often give you a 28 day window to return goods that you’re not happy with, which would cover something that doesn’t fit, but they don’t have to.

The Sale and Supply of Goods Act states that anything you buy must be satisfactory quality and must fit it’s description. The only time that you would possibly be able to claim a refund on an item which doesn’t fit is if it was wrongly labelled. This one could be hard to prove, as there is no standard sizing for women’s clothing. If you buy a size 16 skirt and it’s clearly more a size eight, you might just be able to swing it but it would be a difficult one to win.

What Can I Do?

If you don’t want to upset your mother, I’d suggest that you accept the reduced amount of credit note and leave it at that. The shop is doing more than they actually have to. Other than that, you could ask your mother if she still has the receipt, and ask her to try and get her money back – she might have more luck!

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confused - Your Question:
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Our Response:
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