Monday, 2 September 2013

Knowing Your Customer Rights

First of all a huge thank you to Grace from All That Slap for getting me wound up about Beauty Advisors, I have previously ranted about them here as well as my experience of being a former Counter Manager.

Knowing Your Rights

Sale of Goods Act 1979 states that when purchase an item from anywhere like a shop, you and the seller go into an agreement that the goods they are selling are
  • as described - If it says a red jumper, it cannot be a pair of blue trousers
  • of satisfactory quality - product must last a reasonable amount of time, a watch that lasts a day is not of satisfactory quality.
  • fit for purpose - covers not only the obvious purpose of an item but any purpose you queried and were given assurances about by the seller.
This is applicable if you are purchasing in the UK, if it is abroad you are subject to their laws so it's worth reading up before purchasing.

Before purchasing anything I always ask what the returns policy is, there is normally a time limit when you can take items back (on average I've found 28 days). I would also take the name of the person who is serving you as well as a back up. If possible get a sample to try so you don't open the product up as it is more likely they will take it back.

Pay on card - You'll find out why in the next bit.

I have something to return, now what do I do?

Find your proof of purchase, it's the most powerful bit of paper you can take with you.

If you have lost the receipt, this is where the paying by card comes in - A majority of companies do also take bank statements as proof of purchase, and can also go back through their till audits to find the transactions (this however takes a long time and normally can only be done by certain people so there is a long wait involved, they might even ask you to come back another day).

Explain clearly why you are bringing it back, keeping the Sales of Goods Act 1979 in mind, and also what end result you would want and be willing to negotiate/compromise.

What is their rights as a seller?

They have the right to offer you (and probably in this order):
  • A repair.
  •  A replacement.
  •  A refund.
As I mentioned before ask what their policy is before purchasing and take the sales assistants name.

"I am not getting the result I want"

First of all, remember they have a business to protect as well, that is why there are policies and time limits in place.

If they are being stubborn and you have followed everything that ask been asked of you to the letter, then demand to speak to someone higher like a manager. If in a department store, you can speak to several middle managers like department (who look after the section) or floor (who look after the whole floor, thus are higher management), you will very rarely speak to a store manager as I find they are hardly in the store hence the floor managers.

If this is still not resolved to your satisfaction then contact the company directly, put in as much detail as possible - who you spoke to, when, why you are speaking to them. Any company who values their customers will do everything to resolve the issue as they do not want an unhappy customer telling the world how bad their service was.

If you want to take it even further (and yes you can within your rights) you can contact the Citizen's Advice. They can offer support and legal advice on what to do. Same as contacting the companies head office, make sure you have as much detail as possible. It can go as far as going to court, but I have never heard of any retail purchases going this far.

I hope this has been a huge help for you. For me, great customer service is how a company not only handles it sales but ultimately how it handles it complaints.

My email and Twitter is always open (and if I don't know, I normally know someone who will).

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