Scenario Number 5
While shopping in the January sales, Jean sees a lovely table lamp in the shop window. On the shop wall there is a notice that says 'No Refunds on Sale Goods'. She buys the lamp but when she gets home, she discovers that it is broken.
Can the shop insist on its no refunds policy?
No. A consumer always has rights relating to the quality of goods irrespective of whether they were full price or were bought in a sale. However, it is important to remember that under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended), satisfactory quality does not cover faults that were pointed out at the time of sale or which would have been obvious at the time of purchase. If the damage had been pointed out to Jean when she was buying the lamp, and she went ahead and bought it knowing about the damage, then she would not have the right to complain afterwards. If the damage was not obvious when Jean bought the lamp and she could not discover it until she got the lamp home, then she would be entitled to reject the lamp and ask for a full refund. If the lamp was a good bargain and she would be happy with a repair, then she could decide if she preferred to keep the lamp and ask the shop to have it repaired. Such complaints can be difficult because the damage to the lamp may not necessarily been caused by a manufacturing fault. The shop may feel that the lamp was of satisfactory quality when they sold it and that Jean was careless when bringing it home.
Shops should not display notices that say "No Refunds". Such notices are ineffective and more specifically, they are illegal as they indicate that a shop is trying to restrict the customer's legal rights. "No Refunds" notices should be reported to the Trading Standards Service. However, some shops that may have generous customer policies about the return of unsuitable goods during the year, may decide to change their goodwill policies at sale time. Shops are within their rights to give due notice that they will not offer exchanges or refunds on unsuitable goods at sale times, on the condition that they are not trying to take away the consumers legal rights to a refund on faulty goods.