Smart Consumer: Why can't I return shoes bought in the sales?
Sheela bought a pair of shoes on Christmas Eve but when she got home she discovered that they didn't fit even though they were her size.
She writes "when I tried to exchange them they refused to do so on the grounds that they were a sale item and that it is their policy not to exchange sales items".
Sheela asks "what can I do"?
Unfortunately not a lot, that is unless the shop agrees to exchange the shoes as a goodwill gesture.
This is because under consumer law the shop is only legally obliged to repair, exchange or provide a refund if the item is faulty or not 'as described'.
The fact that the shoes don't fit doesn't mean they are faulty so it's up to the shop's own returns policy as to whether you can bring them back. Many shops with returns policies for unwanted goods limit or suspend them during sales, and you have to go with those 'terms and conditions' once you choose to buy your shoes there.
However, if the shoes were faulty you have a right to a remedy. This right cannot be taken away for items bought in a sale.
The best advice for Sheela, though, is to make sure in future you check what the returns policy for unwanted goods is wherever you buy.
Q Patricia from Cavan wants to know if you are entitled to use vouchers that are out of date.
A Once again, this is up to the retailer or service provider that issued the vouchers. There is no law regulating gift vouchers and businesses are free to put an expiry date on their vouchers if they choose.
If your voucher is out of date, they don't have to accept it, unless once again a bit of New Year goodwill is offered.
Proposed legislation governing gift vouchers that would abolish expiry dates that was submitted in the Seanad by Labour Senator Brendan Ryan was rejected.