We explain how the law differs on postage refunds between the Sale of Goods Act and the Distance Selling Regulations, which is often a cause of confusion
I bought a Zyxel wireless adapter from Ebuyer, which I returned on 21 January because it didn’t work. Ebuyer agreed that it was faulty. It cost £4.99 plus £3.85 delivery costs. To send it back to Ebuyer cost me another £1.96.
I got the money for the adapter refunded but although I forwarded proof of the return postage costs to Ebuyer as requested I am still owed the original and return delivery costs.
Ebuyer first told me it had refunded this money then said it couldn’t do this so added it as credit to my Ebuyer account.
Mr Wilson asked if Ebuyer could, as he put it, “ignore the Distance Selling Regulations (DSRs) this way?” Well, no, of course it can’t, and it also can’t ignore the Sale of Goods Act, the law that applies to this case.
We have contacted Ebuyer and asked it to refund Mr Wilson the £5.81, which is actually more than the device itself cost. But we thought we would briefly give a simple outline that shows what these two pieces of consumer legislation say regarding his rights to a refund of delivery charges, as we do know it can be confusing.
Under the Distance Selling Regulations, the buyer can reject goods for any reason; the goods do not have to be faulty. This law states that provided the buyer has informed the seller that they are rejecting the goods within the specified time period, which is seven working days starting the day after receipt of the goods, a full refund of the original charges must be made. This includes the outward delivery costs. However, the buyer is liable to pay return delivery costs unless otherwise stated.
Under the Sale of Goods Act, if the goods are inherently faulty, the buyer must not be out of pocket. So if the goods are bought online this means not only all original charges and delivery costs must be refunded but also return delivery costs as well.
Because the adapter was faulty, Mr Wilson will be rejecting the goods under the protection of the Sale of Goods Act and not the Distance Selling Regulations.
This also means that Ebuyer can’t make Mr Wilson accept a credit note on his account instead of putting the money back on his card or sending him a cheque.
Updating your subscription status