'My new designer sunglasses are not worth the money. Can I get a full cash refund on return?'
All your consumer questions answered
I bought a pair of designer sunglasses recently but when I got home, I decided they were not worth the money. I returned them to the shop, only to be told that I can only get a credit note and not a full cash refund. Is this right?
Joe, Howth, Co Dublin
Yes, the shop is within its rights to refuse to give you a cash refund. Where there is no fault with an item and you want to return it simply because you don't want it, then you don't have an automatic right to return it and the shop's returns policy comes into play. Shops don't have to accept returns at all and are within their rights to refuse to give you anything, even a credit note. They can set their own returns policies and are not legally required to display their returns policy, even though many will in-store or on receipts.
However, many established retailers have very customer-friendly policies and do allow consumers to return unwanted items in exchange for a refund, credit note or another item in the shop.
Shops can sometimes change their returns policy during sales so always check with a shop about its individual policy before you buy. For example, some may not give you a refund if an item was on sale and will only exchange or give you a credit note or voucher.
If returning something and it's now on sale at a lower price, the shop may only refund the current sale price - that's if it is willing to give a refund at all.
Aine O'Carroll is director of communications and market insights with the CCPC (ccpc.ie).