On this beautiful day I just wanted to discuss the question, can shops refuse to give you a refund?
The short answer to this question on whether a shop can refuse to give a refund is that it depends on the circumstances in question. If the store has sold you a damaged product or something that is not working then they have a legal duty to refund you.
However, if the reasons for returning are flimsy such as “I have just changed my mind” etc then it is up to the shop to decide. Shops are also bound by their return policy. They therefore can’t refuse a refund where the return meets the conditions specified in their returns policy.
The fact that most shops nowadays rarely give problems when you want to return an item does not mean that it can never happen.
It is therefore important that we are aware of your rights first before you seek a refund.
Besides knowing your rights you also need to know when you are not normally entitled to a refund or anything really.
This is when the consumer is in the wrong and therefore not entitled to any refund.
However, this does not necessarily mean that you won’t get your refund as most shops want their consumers to be happy and will do anything to please them.
They may, therefore, give you a refund when you are not legally entitled to them.
Therefore even in cases where you know that you are in the wrong, there is no harm in trying your luck.
I have been in situations where I have breached warranty provisions but somehow still got away with it.
Can Shops Refuse To Give You A Refund? (Cases Where They Can)
A store can refuse to give you a refund where you the buyer are clearly in the wrong and your actions were specifically disallowed in their returns policy. Below are some of the situations where you may not normally be entitled to a refund.
1. Where a consumer has just changed his mind after buying an item
One of the drawbacks of impulse buying is that you may end up buying things that you don’t really need.
Unfortunately, this could mean that you could get stuck with items that you don’t need as the seller can legally refuse to do so.
However, as I have said before nowadays most retailers will still take back the items even though they don’t have to.
You just have to make sure that you do this within the time indicated on the receipt.
Alternatively, you can check the supplier’s returns policy on their website.
2. Where the consumer caused any damage himself
If you have caused damage to the item then the store is within its rights if they refuse to refund you.
In that case, you are stuck with the item as most suppliers won’t take back damaged items.
However, if the damage is not that obvious you can easily get away with it.
I remember a few years ago my daughter through my phone into a filled bathtub and it stopped working.
Fortunately for me when I took it to the phone provider they just took it in without asking me what happened.
I guess they probably thought they would still make more money from me over the duration of the contract period even if they replaced the phone.
3. Where the consumer was told of any faults before the purchase by the store
If the seller told you of any faults before the purchase then you cannot go back to seek a refund because of the same faults.
Therefore when it comes to buying damaged items, the expression, caveat emptor buyer beware should be the guiding light.
Only buy damaged items that you can easily have repaired for a reasonable amount.
Unfortunately, this is not easy for most of us who are not technicians.
We might think that an item can easily be repaired only to discover that that is not the case.
You could end up throwing away an item that cost you a lot.
4. If the fault was obvious when you bought the item
There are certain faults that are pretty obvious when you are buying items.
In these cases, the seller is not entitled to refuse to give you a refund.
This is especially the case when it is reasonably expected that any person would notice it during the examination process.
You cannot, therefore, go back to the store to seek a refund.
If you do go back the seller is within his rights to refuse to take it back.
However, as we have already pointed out the seller can still refund your money especially if their returns policy allows it.
Even if their returns policy is silent you can still try your luck as some sellers have no questions asked returns policy.
5. You made a mistake and now wants your money back
Another final case where a seller cannot be forced to give you a refund is where a consumer discovers that he bought an item by mistake.
There could be several reasons for this ranging from size, color, etc.
All these cases are not enough reasons for a seller to give you a refund.
In this case, you may find yourself stuck with something you don’t want.
However, in most cases, sellers may be bound by their own returns policy.
Therefore if their policy allows refunds then they are legally bound to honor it.
Cases Where They Cannot Refuse To Refund You (Refund Policy)
There are a few situations where the store is bound to refund its customers no matter what. Below are some of those situations.
1. If the Return Is Line With Their Return Policy or Refund Policy.
In a case where the shop’s own return or refund policy specifically allows a customer to return goods then they are contractually bound to follow it.
Normally most shops allow consumers to return a sold item for any reason within 30 days of purchase.
This does not in most cases apply where the consumer is in the wrong. For example, if you are the one who damaged the sold items then most shops will refuse to refund.
If shops were to accept returns that are damaged they would struggle to sell them again. While you may not get a refund for most items such as electrical items, you can still get it repaired free of charge.
This however depends on the warranty. A warranty is a written guarantee issued to the purchaser from the manufacturer promising to repair or replace within a specified period.
2. If The Law In Your Country Allows It
Even in cases where a company’s return policy does not allow it, the store is still bound to abide by the sale of goods acts in your country.
If that law allows it then the retailers are legally bound to refund you. In this case, a store must offer a full refund if an item is faulty, not as described, or does not do what it’s supposed to.
In most cases, most shops take into account the sale of goods act in your country and include it in their refund policy.
It is therefore important for you as a consumer to be conversant with the laws in your country. In this way, you cannot be taken for granted by greedy shops and not be able to get your money back.
Unfortunately, most of us consumers are not aware of laws governing the sale of items in our areas and are therefore not able to claim our rights. One cannot claim rights that you are not aware of.
In America laws governing the sale of items may differ from one state to another. You therefore should not make assumptions when you cross state lines.
In most jurisdictions, online, mail, and phone order sales can be canceled for a limited time even if the goods are not faulty. The law actually says the for online sales the consumer does not have to give a reason for the return.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to accept a credit note instead of a refund?
Honestly, you don’t have to. Normally a seller should give you a refund, not a credit note. It is however up to you as a consumer to decide.
Can a shop refuse to exchange without a receipt?
If the store specifically states that “no receipt no refund” then a shop can refuse to refund you.
However normally where you can show evidence such as a credit card statement most shops will give you your refund.
Can I return something without the tag?
Of course, you can return something without the tag. I have never come across a store that demands that you bring the tag too. The store can easily replace the tag as long the item itself is still in good condition. You may however still need to check the refund policy of the store.
Does Walmart check serial numbers on returns?
Yes, Walmart check serial numbers on returns. Otherwise, they would end up with items that are not theirs.
This, however, does not apply to certain items that do not have serial numbers.
Will stores accept scanned receipts for returns?
This varies from store to store especially in cases where they are not legally required to refund you.
You, therefore, have to contact the store first before you go there.
I would imagine that some stores won’t mind giving you a refund with a scanned receipt as they can easily check its authenticity in their systems.