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to deal with customer returns. It helps if you and your managers and senior staff are singing from the same hymn sheet. If you do decide to let your


YOU are not required by law to have a published policy or display a notice for items that customers wish to return aſter purchase. However, for larger businesses it is probably a good idea to develop your own in-house response plan

customers know about your returns policy before they buy goods, you should take care that you do not mislead them about their legal rights. You must also ensure that you stick completely to your stated policy. Return of goods is covered

by the Consumers Rights Act which replaced the Sale of Goods Act (and others) in October 2015. Under the Act consumers are usually entitled to a refund or replacement or compensation where goods are faulty or not as described. Tis right is limited to 30 days for most goods. Perishable goods such as foods are NOT included but neither are they

completely exempt! It can be difficult to draſt

a returns policy that provides the consumer with useful information, protects your interests and also meets the requirements of the law. For this reason, it is oſten said that 'the best notice is no notice' and you do not need to state a returns policy at all unless your policy offers the consumer more than their minimum entitlement in law. Normally I recommend

that you do not display a returns policy.

PERISHABLE FOODS Te law does not state how a customer can prove that a fault was present at purchase and this of course is especially problematic with food. Te

30-day limit for returns does not apply to perishable food. For prepacked food the limit would be the stated use-by date. For loose food the limit is determined by “how long it is reasonable to have accepted the goods to last”. Tis vague wording

creates a grey area and there is no guide to help with interpretation. Judgments are therefore very subjective and can only be made on a case by case basis. An important factor is how the food was treated between purchase and return and this is very difficult to establish completely or prove.

PROOF OF PURCHASE You can certainly refuse a refund in any circumstances


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