Can online shop charge me restocking fee?

23
Found 31st Dec 2015
An online shop is attempting to charge me a 25% restocking fee for returning a computer part as it has been opened. Item was returned with 14 days and they agreed to return. This product has been returned complete and in "as new" condition under change of mind cancellation within 14 days.
The box has been opened without damaging or marking the product or packaging, this is following their return policy to the letter.

Had this been written on their returns policy page I would never had agreed 25%, I would have lost less selling privately. Never have I been charged a restocking fee and I dont see how any business can expect returning customers with such a policy. They even sell open box items but note they are not marked down 25% so they are profiting off restocking fees.

But when I called to complain they pointed out that deep within the terms and conditions (a different page to returns policy) they reserve the right to charge 25% restocking fee for "excessive handling". Who decides this? Any returned item cannot be sold again as new so all business will take a hit on a return.

Can I challenge them?
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23 Comments
How can you challenge it if you if it is their terms and conditions, which (assumingly) you agreed to, to confirm the sale.
daBluone

This product has been returned complete and in "as new" condition … This product has been returned complete and in "as new" condition under change of mind cancellation within 14 days.The box has been opened without damaging or marking the product or packaging



These 2 points will probably let you down. Why did you open it if you did not want it?
Ellie Phant

How can you challenge it if you if it is their terms and conditions, … How can you challenge it if you if it is their terms and conditions, which (assumingly) you agreed to, to confirm the sale.



I understand what you are saying but never have I looked for a potential restocking fee before making a purchase as I did not think any UK business did such a thing. It looks like the law changed in Oct 2015 so Distance selling regulations no longer exist which would never have allowed returns fees. It has been replaced with Consumer Contracts Regulations but I'm not totally clear on how this change affects this situation.


Edited by: "daBluone" 31st Dec 2015
benjammin316

These 2 points will probably let you down. Why did you open it if you did … These 2 points will probably let you down. Why did you open it if you did not want it?



But this is their returns policy copy & pasted:

"Your product must be complete and in "as new" condition e.g. if you have opened the box to examine the product you must have done so without damaging or marking the product or packaging. It must not have been used or installed. It should be returned with the original box, packaging and accessories you received with it. Mini-discs, memory cards and software must still be sealed. Any "Free Gifts" received with the product must also be returned. "


I thought I did want it and opened it to inspect. I changed my mind and knew I had 14 days to return even though I opened item. People do this all the time, buy a mobile phone for example - open it, use it for a few days then decide its not for them then return for refund. As I said I've never known a UK business to charge restocking fees and I didnt think it was lawfull. A company like Amazon or Apple would never impose such charges, I'm totally surprised.

But I appreciate I could be accused of being ignorant to this companies full terms and conditions (even if not mentioned on their returns policy page). But I've seen many businesses over the years try to lay out unreasonable terms and conditions which would never stand up to the law.

Edited by: "daBluone" 31st Dec 2015
daBluone

I thought I did want it and opened it to inspect. I changed my mind and … I thought I did want it and opened it to inspect. I changed my mind and knew I had 14 days to return even though I opened item. People do this all the time, buy a mobile phone for example - open it, use it for a few days then decide its not for them then return for refund. As I said I've never known a UK business to charge restocking fees and I didnt think it was lawfull. A company like Amazon or Apple would never impose such charges, I'm totally surprised. But I appreciate I could be accused of being ignorant to this companies full terms and conditions (even if not mention on their retruns policy page). But Ive seen many business over the years try to lay out unreasonable terms and conditions which would never stand up to the law.




Yeah, that's fair enough. 25% is way over what I have seen before. Good luck

But there are some returns exceptions worth knowing about.
DVDs, music and computer software Many retailers refuse returns if the seal or packaging has been broken.
Perishable items You won't usually be able to return an item if it's perishable. This includes food and flowers.
Made to order If an item has been made to order or personalised it's very unlikely that you'll be able to return it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If you had not opened it, they would be forced to give you a 100% refund, now it is up to the sellers good will.
Here you go, no its not legal to charge a restocking fee.

Q: Can I charge a re-stocking fee?

A: No, you can’t. You must also advise the customer at the outset that they will be responsible for the cost of returning the goods to you and if you offer to collect for a fee, they should be given some idea of how that is calculated. If you don’t warn them they can expect you to meet the costs of getting the goods back.


thiis.co.uk/mag…spx
allowed

But there are some returns exceptions worth knowing about.DVDs, music and … But there are some returns exceptions worth knowing about.DVDs, music and computer software Many retailers refuse returns if the seal or packaging has been broken.Perishable items You won't usually be able to return an item if it's perishable. This includes food and flowers.Made to order If an item has been made to order or personalised it's very unlikely that you'll be able to return it.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------If you had not opened it, they would be forced to give you a 100% refund, now it is up to the sellers good will.



It is none of these items and I was aware that these items cannot be returned. This company has no goodwill so I need to use the law to help with my case.
Argoj

Here you go, no its not legal to charge a restocking fee.Q: Can I charge … Here you go, no its not legal to charge a restocking fee.Q: Can I charge a re-stocking fee?A: No, you can’t. You must also advise the customer at the outset that they will be responsible for the cost of returning the goods to you and if you offer to collect for a fee, they should be given some idea of how that is calculated. If you don’t warn them they can expect you to meet the costs of getting the goods back.http://www.thiis.co.uk/magazine-pdf-archive/selling-to-the-public-are-you-breaking-the-new-consumer-rights-law.aspx



Thanks for this. Its a shame it doesnt reference the part of the law that explains this.

I tried to make this case but they are sticking to fact that in their terms & conditions they state they charge a restocking fee and I must of agreed to them when signing upto their website. I also mentioned I did not sign upto their website and paid using the Amazon payment method offered by their checkout process. I'm asking to esculate it further up the chain. In the end I will take it to my credit card comapny.
Edited by: "daBluone" 31st Dec 2015
Argoj

Here you go, no its not legal to charge a restocking fee.Q: Can I charge … Here you go, no its not legal to charge a restocking fee.Q: Can I charge a re-stocking fee?A: No, you can’t. You must also advise the customer at the outset that they will be responsible for the cost of returning the goods to you and if you offer to collect for a fee, they should be given some idea of how that is calculated. If you don’t warn them they can expect you to meet the costs of getting the goods back.http://www.thiis.co.uk/magazine-pdf-archive/selling-to-the-public-are-you-breaking-the-new-consumer-rights-law.aspx


next part of that section

Q: What if the customer has used the goods?

A: If you can prove they’ve used them you can deduct an amount from their refund to reflect that. They do have the right to inspect the goods, just as they would in a shop, so be aware that if they need to remove packaging in order to inspect the goods, you’ll need to allow that.


The dispute here I guess is that they have deemed the item has been used as OP did more than just remove the packaging. They opened the box and took the card out of its inner packaging (I assume).
This will be an interesting one to watch. I've worked for Online companies and you see customers who really use and abuse the returns systems, you get many 'geniuses' who quote laws and rules which simply do not exist or have been massively misinterpreted.

Whilst I do feel for the OP and agree that 25% can be a little on the excessive side I wish more companie would enforce this (and were legally able to do so).

Too many people now buy on a whim, open the item and then expect to return it for 100% refund. What of the returned item? It can't be sold as new and as such the retailer loses out.

You mention that open box items are not sold at a 25% discount, but you do realise that additional costs will be involved? Checking the item over, booking it back in to stock, listing it on the website again, sending it out again, fees from the selling source i.e. eBay, Amazon, Ratuken etc. etc. fees on the payment gateway etc.

Consumers 'think' because it's a business they can swallow the cost easily whereas that isn't the case. Margins are tight, and many of these online businesses are small not these massive international conglomerates.

Edited by: "ipswich78" 31st Dec 2015
Ellie Phant

How can you challenge it if you if it is their terms and conditions, … How can you challenge it if you if it is their terms and conditions, which (assumingly) you agreed to, to confirm the sale.



Because legal rights override T&Cs. Under the consumer contracts regulations you have a right to a full refund of the price you paid for the goods. They includes the cost to deliver it to you, but not any cost you incur getting the goods back to them or any services like expedited delivery.

You do have to right to open the goods and inspect them, the whole point of the regulation was to provide the same ability to check goods before purchase that you would have in a shop.
How much was the item you returned?
Something the OP might want to note (based on the updated laws):

Please note that you may not use goods that you have received before deciding to withdraw from the purchase. The right to withdraw exists to allow you to examine the product in the same way as you would in a shop, not to give you 14 days free use.
ipswich78

This will be an interesting one to watch. I've worked for Online … This will be an interesting one to watch. I've worked for Online companies and you see customers who really use and abuse the returns systems, you get many 'geniuses' who quote laws and rules which simply do not exist or have been massively misinterpreted.Whilst I do feel for the OP and agree that 25% can be a little on the excessive side I wish more companie would enforce this (and were legally able to do so). Too many people now buy on a whim, open the item and then expect to return it for 100% refund. What of the returned item? It can't be sold as new and as such the retailer loses out.You mention that open box items and not sold at a 25% discount, but you do realise that additional costs will be involved? Checking the item over, booking it back in to stock, listing it on the website again, sending it out again, fees from the selling source i.e. eBay, Amazon, Ratuken etc. etc. fees on the payment gateway etc.Consumers 'think' because it's a business they can swallow the cost easily whereas that isn't the case. MArgins are tight, and many of these online businesses are small not these massive international conglomerates.



I do appreciate what your are saying but returns are a part of a businesses everyday running. These policies exist to give the consumer piece of mind when purchasing from distance and suit online retailers because they can sell to a wider audience. But I agree its probably now a trend to buy and return on a whim and it must be hurting alot of companies. But the highstreet is dead and I know I would rather buy from a shop, but greedy landlords and councils have priced business out of bricks and mortar with such high rates which force the price of goods up and buyers shop online for better deals. I'm not rich so also shop online with reputable retailers.

I'm looking for a fair resolution to my case as I feel 25% fee is unreasonable. I'm not wanting to screw the retailer or be a consumer warrior. I'm frustrated as it was not clear to me that this fee was in place and with the retailer acting like a brick wall who couldnt care less about my point of view i'm not prepared to back down.

Edited by: "daBluone" 31st Dec 2015
rev6

How much was the item you returned?



£200
daBluone

I do appreciate what your are saying but returns are a part of a … I do appreciate what your are saying but returns are a part of a businesses everyday running. These policies exist to give the consumer piece of mind when purchasing from distance and suit online retailers because they can sell to a wider audience. But I agree its probably now a trend to buy and return on a whim and it must be hurting alot of companies. But the highstreet is dead and I now I would rather buy from a shop, but greedy landlords and councils have priced business out of bricks and mortar with such high rates which force the price of goods up and buyers shop online for better deals. I'm not rich so also shop online with reputable retailers.I'm looking for a fair resolution to my case as I feel 25% fee is unreasonable. I'm not wanting to screw the retailer or be a consumer warrior. I'm frustrated as it was not clear to me that this fee was in place and with the retailer acting like a brick wall who couldnt care less about my point of view and i'm not prepared to back down.


The issue is terms and conditions vs law. If everything they are doing is legal then there isn't a lot you can do. If the payment was over £100 you might get some support from your credit card company otherwise you won't.

What have you changed your mind about? Would it make more sense to ask for it to be sent back?
ipswich78

Something the OP might want to note (based on the updated laws):Please … Something the OP might want to note (based on the updated laws):Please note that you may not use goods that you have received before deciding to withdraw from the purchase. The right to withdraw exists to allow you to examine the product in the same way as you would in a shop, not to give you 14 days free use.



If they felt the goods had been used wouldnt they just refuse refund and return goods at my expense?
daBluone

If they felt the goods had been used wouldnt they just refuse refund and … If they felt the goods had been used wouldnt they just refuse refund and return goods at my expense?


I can't answer that i'm afraid.
Hi... Have a look at the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 it may give you more idea of where you stand
leejay

Hi... Have a look at the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 it may give … Hi... Have a look at the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 it may give you more idea of where you stand


And here's my point entirely. People quoting things which are wrong.
Thanks for input everyone. Will update if I get any further.
ipswich78

And here's my point entirely. People quoting things which are wrong.



Consumer law and, well any legal matters aren't the easist of things to research / understand especially with the internet containing such large amounts of out of date info (and not marked as such).
Edited by: "daBluone" 31st Dec 2015
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