News & Views

Retail: Unwanted Valentines gifts & Dry January


Dry January followed by Valentines Day – Mike Lewis from the Sherrards Retail Team investigates the ramifications…

The press is full of stories of astronomical Business Rates and struggling public houses – ‘Dry January’ must only exacerbate this. However, friend of Sherrards, Sean Hughes, the publican of several of the finest bars in St Albans (Dylans The Kings Arms, The Plough & The Boot), turned this theory on it’s head and, in a rather optimistic light, told us:

“January for us at Dylans is a time for fresh ideas and an opportunity to try out some exciting new products. We launched our first draught non-alcoholic Craft Beer by BrewDog on tap this January to encourage people out of their homes and into a more sociable environment. We also offered a variety of new non-alcoholic drinks to support those wanting to do dry January. Sales were up year on year, and I believe that the future does lie with more non-alcoholic drinks on offer and this is something that we are looking to build on following the success we had over January.”

With Dry January over, next to look forward to is Valentine’s Day, and with 2020 being a leap year, the less commonly celebrated day known as ‘Bachelor’s Day’ is also fast approaching on the 29th February. Bachelor’s Day first appeared as an Irish tradition and allowed women to propose marriage on a leap year. If the man refused the proposal, he was obliged to buy the woman a gift, such as a fur coat, or silk gown.

So, whether you’re buying a valentine’s day present, an engagement ring, or are turning down a marriage proposal with a lavish gift…

What are your rights as a consumer if you want to return the goods?

Goods Purchased at a ‘Distance’

If you bought goods online, by mail, or over the phone, the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (‘Regulations’) give you rights as a consumer.

Under the Regulations, you have a what is known as a “cooling off period” which will begin at the moment you place your order and will end 14 days from the date you receive your items.

You will also be given an additional 14 days to return the items to the retailer – the period of this additional 14 days begins from the date you notify the retailer that you wish to cancel your order or return your goods.

There are, however, some exceptions where you are not entitled to cancel or return your items, including but not limited to bespoke, or personalised items.

Goods Purchased in Store

As a consumer, you can only return or exchange non-faulty goods you have bought from a store if the retailer has a returns policy.

It is not a legal requirement for shops to have a returns policy, however, if they do have one, they have to follow it.

Many retailers will specify time limits for returning non-faulty goods, with some offering 28 days. You can find a retailer’s return policy on their website, by calling their customer services department, or on the receipt for the goods.

Returning Faulty Goods

Consumer rights for returning goods are contained within the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (‘the Act’).

Under the Act, you have the legal right to a refund if you return a faulty item within 30 days of buying or receiving it. You are entitled to this refund regardless of what the retailer’s returns policy says.

For a further discussion on any retail or consumer issues, please contact Michael Lewis, Partner and Head of Property Litigation at Sherrards on the details below.

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