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Can I get around a 'no returns' policy?

Q Ronan contacted Smart Consumer with a question that's very typical for this time of year.

He wants to know if a shop can have a 'no returns' policy in his situation. He got a laptop that he doesn't want but it has been removed from the box.

So when he went back to the shop they told him they won't accept it back because it is not in its original packaging.

"Can they do this?" he asks.

A The short answer is yes they can. The reason is that this is an unwanted item, rather than a defective one, and so Ronan is dependent on the shop's own returns policy.

For unwanted goods bought in a physical shop, it is entirely up to the shop whether they will accept it back.

Many have good returns policies and will offer a refund, replacement or credit note.

There are usually conditions to this, such as that you have to bring the item back within a particular timeframe or, as in this case, that the item is in its original packaging.

So apart from negotiating as best you can with the shop manager, there is nothing more you can do.

However, a word to other readers who may have a broken product or perhaps a Christmas gift that did not do what it was supposed to it.

If the product is defective or not 'as described', that is a different matter entirely.

In that instance your consumer rights kick in and you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund and you should be able to show some type of proof of purchase in order to avail of these entitlements.

If something is brand new, you should expect a refund or replacement straight away.

And remember, if you bought it at full price, and now it's on sale, you still get back the full price that you paid.

Irish Independent