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Want to return an order? Find out if you have to pay postage

Know the rules and your obligations when you want to return an order. Find out if you have to pay and what expenses can be charged to you.

The difficulty of returning is one of the biggest hesitations of consumers when making purchases, especially when they are made online or through other remote services. What if I don’t like the product? And if it doesn’t work? How to do return the order??

Now that Christmas is over, the season for exchanges and returns is the ideal time to resolve all these doubts. The legislation is clear regarding the return of orders, so there is no reason to be afraid.

When you can (or not) return an order

The first detail you should be aware of is the reasons considered legitimate for returning an order.

According the european legislationif you buy a product (online or in a physical store) and it is defective or does not work correctly, you can ask the seller to repair it, exchange it, discount the price or return it with a refund.

If the purchase was made from a distance, the rules are a little less strict. Let’s see.

On off-premises purchases

If you purchased a product or service online or off-premises, through a door-to-door seller, you can cancel the purchase and return the order within 14 days, regardless of the reason and without having to give a reason.

The seller is obliged to accept the product back and refund the customer within a maximum period of 14 days after being informed of the intention to return it (although it may delay the refund if, in the meantime, it does not receive the returned goods).

note that the refund must include not only the value of the item, but also the shipping costs you have paid upon purchase. If you have opted for a special shipment that is more expensive than the “standard” option offered by the company, you will not be reimbursed for this additional cost.

The refund must be made through the same payment method used in the initial transaction, unless another method is expressly agreed with the seller.

Attention: there are exceptions to the right of free resolution

It is important to keep in mind that the right to freely terminate (cancel) the contract within 14 days does not apply to all types of products or services. Outside are, for example:

  • Leisure services ordered for specific dates or periods (eg plane and train tickets, concert tickets or hotel reservations). However, information about the non-existence of this right must be provided to you before you are bound by the contract;
  • Products that have been manufactured to order or that are personalized (for example, made-to-measure clothing);
  • Goods that, by nature, cannot be reshipped or are likely to deteriorate or quickly expire;
  • Audio, video or software items, such as DVDs, whose inviolability guarantee seal has been broken by the consumer after delivery;
  • Digital products that you have already started downloading or consuming (for example, streaming) and you have agreed that you would lose your right of withdrawal if you did;
  • Products purchased from private individuals;
  • Repair or maintenance work at home at the request of the consumer (after calling the service and agreeing on the price, you cannot withdraw from the purchase).

See too
Right of Repentance: What It Is and How It Works

In store shopping

With regard to in-store purchases, the law says that the customer you can only return an order if the item has a defectif it is not as advertised or if it does not work correctly.

If this happens, the seller is obliged to repair the product, replace it with a new one or take it back and refund the customer.

It happens, however, that some stores allow, out of sympathy for the customer, the return of products without defects within a limited period of time and upon presentation of the purchase receipt.

Bear in mind, however, that this is an option for stores and not something they are obliged to do.

If not informed, do not pay the return costs

In distance purchases, it is usually the consumer who returns the goods and who has to bear the costs of this return.

But only if you have been informed of this at the time of purchase?? Otherwise, the costs of returning the product must be borne by the seller.

When dealing with bulky products (such as a sofa or a refrigerator, for example), the seller must also present the consumer with an estimate of the maximum costs of returning the item??

Generally speaking, there are four cases in which the consumer is not obliged to pay the return costs:

  • if the supplier of the product offers to carry out the collection;
  • if the supplier has agreed with the consumer to bear these costs;
  • if the consumer has not been informed prior to the conclusion of the contract that he has a duty to bear the costs of returning the goods;
  • if the return is due to a defect in the item or if it does not work properly.

How to return an order

Know that if you change your mind and want to return an order, it is not enough to send it back to the seller. You must officially inform him of your intention to return the products.

Some sellers have forms for this process, but the law does not oblige you to use them. However, it is always easier if you follow the procedures defined by the seller, so as not to cause entropy.

To return the order, you must pack the products you bought (if possible, reuse the original packaging) and accompany them with the return form or, if there is no form, a statement expressing your intention to cancel the purchase and the justification for returning the order.

5 precautions to take when returning

If you don’t know if you’re going to need to return an order, it doesn’t hurt to be careful not to throw away the right to cancel the purchase. Here are our tips:

1. Keep the proof of purchase receipt (even in digital format);

2. Keep photographs of the defective products, with details of the defect, before packing the order and sending it back to the seller;

3. Keep a copy of the completed return form (or the letter you wrote to the seller informing him of your intention to cancel the purchase), always with visible proof of the date it was completed;

4. Do not break the security seals if you are not absolutely sure that you do not want to return the order;

5. Save the original boxes and all the protective elements they contain (styrofoam, blown plastic, etc.). Try to pack everything as closely as possible to the original packaging, so as not to run the risk of the product being damaged on return to the seller.

Article originally published in November 2019. Last updated in December 2022.

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