What can you do if a purchase fails the test?


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I bought a TV/DVD player nine months ago and the DVD player has stopped working. The TV is still under warranty. Can I get a refund?

If you are within the warranty period - usually 12 months - you certainly have the right to take your TV back to the retailer. The retailer is likely to offer a repair, exchange or credit note, but cannot insist on these remedies. You are entitled to ask for a full refund of what you paid.

If you received a discount when you paid for the TV, the amount of the refund must be the discounted price only. It is illegal for retailers to tell you they cannot do anything about your broken DVD player, or that you must contact the manufacturer yourself and sort it out, even if the TV has a manufacturing fault.

In any case a manufacturer will not be able to give you a refund or replacement unless you bought the TV directly from them. In your case, part of the TV mechanism - the DVD player, which was an integral part of the TV - was faulty, constituting a prime reason for the application of a repair, replacement or a refund.

What about the cost of returning it?

If you took the TV home when you bought it, it is up to you to return it. However, if a large item was delivered by a retailer's or manufacturer's truck, they are obliged to pick up the faulty item at their expense.

In what other situations am I entitled to a refund?

Apart from an item not working, a store is obliged to replace goods bought that don't match the sample or demonstration model you saw on the floor, or if a good doesn't match the description in a catalogue: for instance, if you were told the wallet is made from leather when in fact it is made from vinyl; the item doesn't do what the salesperson said it would; or it doesn't do what you asked for and you relied on the store's advice when choosing the item.

I also have a silk T-shirt ordered online and found a fault in the fabric when unpacked. Can I send it back and get a replacement or a refund?

Even if you have unpacked it and taken off the labels and tried it on, you can take it or send it back to the retailer and ask for a replacement or a refund.

However, it must have a fault. If you have just changed your mind the retailer has no obligation to take it back, replace it or refund it. And if you wore it for any length of time (other than merely trying it on), you cannot expect to return it and get a refund.

Retailers who pride themselves on providing customer service and want to keep your business will also replace the item if the sizing is incorrect, or the colour presentation in a catalogue does not match the colour of the garment on receipt.

I can't find my receipt for the TV. Will that mean I can't get a refund?

Don't panic. You can also prove your purchase from a credit card statement or a confirmation or receipt number from a phone or online purchase. It's a good idea to keep these online receipt numbers in a book for ready reference.

Can I charge back the amount paid on my credit card?

You can ask to have charges on your credit card reversed if the amount is incorrect, the items have not been delivered, the goods you bought were misrepresented or are the wrong quality. Chargebacks usually apply for online purchases that disappoint.

How do I go about this?

Chargebacks are subject to the terms and conditions attached to the credit card.

When you apply for chargeback the issuer - bank, credit union or non-bank credit card company - will assess your claim and determine how much they are prepared to charge back.

Write to your credit card issuer within 60 days of the amount that you are disputing first appearing on your credit card statement. State the specific reason for requesting the chargeback.

What requirements must I meet to make a claim?

You need to show that you made your own effort to get a refund from the retailer.

Another condition is that only the amount that remains unpaid on the item can be charged back if you have started paying off the purchase price. For further help, contact the Office of Fair Trading in your state.

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