We’ve all been there: the pair of shoes that you thought you could squeeze into or the new phone contract that sounded like such a good deal when they explained it in the shop.
Once you get home and have some time to dwell on your new purchase, it might not seem so alluring. While the best way to avoid buyer’s remorse is with proper research and forward planning, there’s no point beating yourself up over the occasional impulse buy gone wrong.
Instead, consider the following options for resolving the situation.
If it’s a product that you ordered online
Online orders are covered by the Consumer Contract Regulations – a set of rules designed to ensure that consumers are treated fairly by retailers. These regulations can be particularly helpful in cases of buyer’s remorse since they give you what’s known as a ‘cooling-off period’. That’s 14 days in which to cancel your order, no questions asked, for a full refund. If you have already received the item (or it’s on its way to you), then you would be responsible for shipping it back.
If it’s something you bought in the shop
Physical shops aren’t governed by these rules, so you’ll have to go by the policy of the individual retailer. You can often find information about a store’s return policy printed on the receipt – otherwise, the information will be listed on their website or, as a last port of call, you could always pop in and ask. Most places will offer returns for at least a couple of weeks, but you’ll be expected to return the item in as new condition with the receipt, and you may be offered an exchange rather than your money back.
In cases where the item you’ve bought is actually faulty, you have the right to return the item regardless of what the store’s policy may be. However, you do need to act quickly. Return the item as soon as you can, and always within 30 days to avoid losing out. The right to return faulty items is one of your statutory rights, which means that it takes precedence over a shop’s individual returns policy.
If it’s a phone, TV or internet contract
A lot of people don’t realise that the ‘cooling off period’ we described above also applies to services such as your new internet or mobile phone contract. This only counts if you bought it online, though – those who have fallen foul of phone stores’ famously aggressive sales tactics have far less recourse. We still recommend asking: a company may agree to let you out of your contract as a gesture of goodwill.
With internet packages, you have a little bit of extra protection if the speed of the connection is not as good as promised. Your supplier should provide you with the Minimum Guaranteed Access Line Speed, which you can check the speed of your connecting against. If it’s slower than it should be then you need to notify them. They are allowed a month to try and fix the problem, after which you’re welcome to cancel without paying a fee.