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Refunding Customers - The Rules

Although we all strive for perfection, sometimes we might have an off-day … and then one of your lovely customers asks if they can return their purchase for a refund.

What do you do?

Here's a short guide to the rules followed by a useful link to the HMRC that can give you more detail. Sometimes you HAVE to give a refund - it's the law.

It goes without saying that if an item is faulty, doesn't do whatever it's supposed to or just isn't as you described it … then you must give the customer a refund.

If, however, the customer knew the item was faulty when they bought it then you don't have to give a refund. Similarly, if they've tried to fix it themselves to no avail or if they just don't want it then - no refund!

If you sell personalised items then you only need to refund if the item is faulty (if the customer simply changes their mind then they're not entitled to a refund)

Have an on-line store? then you have slightly different rules. it's known as 'Distance Selling'

Basically, the customer has 14 days after receiving their goods to cancel, then they have another 14 days to return the goods to you. After that, you have 14 days to refund them.

(There are other special rules for distance sales, but that's a whole other blog)

Finally, you don't have to accept a return from anyone other than the person who bought the item.

Of course, your refund policy can be whatever you want (as long as it includes the minimum requirements) - take M&S as an example, and ASOS. Both well known for their generous returns policy (though ASOS is putting limits on theirs now...)

ALL the info can be found on the .gov site here:

This is fairly basic level, there is a lot more detail on the Citizens Advice site here

And if you really want a good read … the consumer rights act 2015 is here!

As ever, if you have questions about this or anything financey, please get in touch!

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