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Can I get a refund on a dress that doesn't fit?

Q Ita contacted Smart Consumer about a dress she bought in a Dublin boutique. She was shown a dress that was a smaller size than what she would usually wear, and when she tried it on she felt it was a bit tight.

Ita went ahead and bought the dress, paying €250, but immediately on returning home she realised it wasn't suitable.

The very next day she brought it back to the shop and as the manager wasn't there she left her telephone number. When the manager called her she was informed that she couldn't get a refund.

"I do not buy expensive items normally," writes Ita, "and the shop now has my money and the garment."

Ita adds that a few weeks back Smart Consumer featured a story of a broken bag where the shop issued a refund without hassle and wonders if she should get the same.

A Actually, this situation is different to the one where the bag was broken, because in this instance the dress wasn't faulty, but rather it didn't fit.

When you return something due to a change of mind -- for example, because the item in question doesn't fit -- then your consumer rights don't kick in. They only do so if the item is faulty.

This means the shop has no legal obligation to accept a return for a change of mind.

However, most (good) shops operate a returns policy and will allow customers to return unwanted items within a specified time frame. But again, this is entirely up to the shop.

This is why it is so important when you buy anything to ask the shop if they accept returns for unwanted goods.

This means that Ita's only hope is to get some goodwill from the boutique.

She should go back to the store to get the dress, and ask if they can do anything for her (a credit note maybe), especially as they suggested buying a smaller size than she usually would.

Irish Independent