Black Friday and Cyber Monday regrets: Your refund rights

28 November 2017

Shoppers who made hasty choices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday may have options when it comes to returning impulse purchases.

According to cashback website TopCashback, this year’s Black Friday was the largest it has ever seen. The company expected more than £1.4 billion to be spent online alone on Black Friday, and even more to be spent over the course of the adopted commercial bonanza.

Moneywise users say they are set to spend less this Christmas compared to last year, according to our recent poll results. But the temptation is always there to buy unnecessary items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  

Research conducted by broadband comparison site Broadbandchoices, found that nearly half of Brits (43%) gets ‘FOMAD’ – ‘Fear Of Missing A Deal’ – around Black Friday, which shows just how quickly it has become ingrained in our shopping habits since arriving from across the Atlantic.

According to research from the firm, one in five (20%) consumers admits to making wasteful mistake purchases.

Vix Leyton, consumer expert at, comments: “It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of a big sales event such as Black Friday, especially with the onslaught of advertising and publicity around it.”

Your rights when returning impulse purchases

But what can you do with unwanted purchases? James Walker, founder of complaint resolution website Resolver, says: “We all love a bargain, but in our endless quest to find a good deal online or in-store, many of us will have got more (or less) than we bargained for after the Black Friday madness.

"And that's the issue with Black Friday, it's very easy to get carried away. Every year I speak to people saddled with 'decent deals' that turned out to be more expensive, to dodgy goods that just don't work proper.

"What's important to remember is generally you aren't stuck with the things you bought. Stores always have a returns policy, if even just for an exchange, and your consumer rights for online purchases kick in as soon as you receive your goods.”

If you have bought something that you now wish you hadn’t, there are rules governing what you can and can’t return. Here are Resolver’s five tips for making returns:

1. If you’re unhappy with the purchase: Many stores will offer you a refund or exchange if you are simply unhappy with your purchase, but not all will so check the terms carefully. Your consumer rights actually say you cannot return something unless it is faulty, not as described or it is unfit for the purpose it was intended. You have 30 days if there is a fault/issue to get a refund for a product you have bought.

2. If you bought it online: When buying online, you can cancel the order or send the goods back at any time up to 14 days after you bought it. This is great for buyers' remorse and online retailers accept this as they know you need to see things first. Just keep all the packaging, try not to open stuff if you don't need to and be careful not to cause any damage or to remove labels from clothing or footwear.

3. If your purchase is broken: If something is broken and it’s within the first six months of ownership, the onus is on the store to prove it was fine when you bought it. After six months, the onus switches to you to prove you didn’t break it.

4. If you just don’t like it: If something works, but you just don’t like it, most stores will accept returns, but may only give you store credit or a replacement. You won’t always get cash. If you get a gift receipt with your purchase it helps a lot.

5. If your purchase was damaged in transit: If a product you ordered online on Black Friday has been damaged in transit or is ruined by a delivery company which put it in an unsafe or unprotected place, take pictures and complain to the store involved. They have the contract with the courier, not you.

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In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I placed an order for some DVD's on Friday. Then I was told the offer was not as I had understood and the price doubled. So I cancelled. Refund made. The trouble is that every time I have gone for a speical offer it has been a similar experience however reputable the company. Frankly i doubt if I shall bother again - more especially as a bit of research lowered the price to well under the offer price!

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