What happens when someone changes their mind about something they’ve brought?

Changed your mind about something you’ve bought? It’s not as simple as getting your money back, regardless of how expensive an item may be.

Offering a refund on something you’ve purchased from a company is the choice of the seller; it’s up to them whether they offer you anything.

If there’s nothing wrong with what you have bought, it doesn’t need to be refunded.

However, if you think there’s a problem with your purchase, there are steps you can follow to get a refund, but this depends on where you bought the item.

Buying online?

Anything purchased online will automatically come with a 14-day cooling-off period.

Ultimately, this is when you buy something you haven’t seen in person, the cooling-off period allows you to get a refund on the item if it’s not for you. That includes purchases which may have nothing wrong with them too!

The period starts from the day you receive the item, but does exclude bespoke and made-to-measure items.

The cooling-off period doesn’t apply to items that:

  • Can deteriorate quickly, such as flowers or food
  • Is personalised or custom-made, such as printed material
  • Is from a private individual rather than a business
  • A CD, DVD, or software whereby the seal is broken

The above also includes over-the-phone and mail order purchases.

How to use your cooling-off period:

The following steps will help you with how to use your cooling-off period.

Step 1: Tell the seller you don’t want the item within the first 14 days of selling it. Citizens Advice has a templated letter to help you with informing the seller of your decision here.

You may also inform the seller of your decision via phone, but always make a note of the person you speak to with a reference number to the call.

Step 2: Once you’ve informed the seller of your decision to cancel, you then have 14 days to return the item. If you don’t return it within the 14-day period, you may lose your right to return.

Step 3: Keep a document of any correspondence between you and the company until a full return has been made.

What about postage and packaging?

Most items bought online come with standard delivery – it all depends on what memberships you may have and what delivery options you choose.

So, if you request a refund and need to return the item, the seller has to refund the money spent on postage and packaging but only at the standard price.

If you’ve selected express delivery, which is more than standard delivery, you’ll need to pay the difference.

Buying an item from a shop?

We’d recommend you check the shop’s policy on returns before purchasing the item.

Most shops say you can return an item within 14, 30, and occasionally more days for as long as they haven’t been used. It’s not a legal requirement, but it’s always good to check.

Even if you couldn’t check or try an item before purchasing, your rights remain the same on returns.

Always get a receipt for any items you buy within a shop too. There is a higher likelihood you’ll get a refund on items with the original receipt. You may find the return’s policy for the company is written in the receipt too.

Bought something from a business based outside of the UK?

If you’ve bought something from abroad, your rights may be different. Always check the terms and conditions of the seller before purchasing anything from them.

It’s worthwhile exploring whether you’ll receive a refund on the delivery cost, too, as the rules around this may be different to Great Britain.

For more information about where you and your clients stand when it comes to returning something, they’ve bought, get in touch with us today.