LEGAL MATTERS

Byrne Carolan Cunningham SOLICITORS

Consumer rights

I bought an item before Christmas which cost me €200. I subsequently changed my mind about the item and returned it to the shop. I had my receipt proving that I paid €200 for it. However, the item was now on sale for €120 and the shop would only offer me the reduced price. Can they do this?

Also, I received a gift which is faulty but I don’t have the receipt. Can I return it to the shop?

Your consumer rights in sales are the same as at any other time of the year. You are entitled to expect goods to be of merchantable quality, fit for purpose, and as described. If they are not, you are entitled to a repair, replacement, or refund. If a shop is prepared to offer a refund, rather than a repair or replacement, then your entitlement is to a refund of the full price and not the reduced sale price.

However, if you simply change your mind about a purchase a shop is not obliged to take the item back. If the store has a policy which offers refunds in respect of ‘change of mind’ items then you are only entitled to the reduced sale price. Such a policy is a gesture of goodwill and not a legal requirement on the shop.

With regard to the faulty gift, you will need proof of purchase in order to return it to the shop. The person who bought the item is the one who holds the consumer rights, but if they pass the receipt on to you, then the consumer rights also pass to you, entitling you to a repair, replacement, or refund.

This column is prepared by Dolores Gacquin, solicitor. Byrne Carolan Cunningham have offices in Athlone, Moate, and Lanesborough.

A person should always contact their solicitor to obtain legal advice specific to their own situation. The above column contains general information and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.

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