When can I return an item?

Too small or defective: When and under what circumstances can I return goods?

In stationary retail, customers do not have a general right to exchange. However, many dealers still take goods back. However, the retailer can determine the conditions for this himself.

The sweater does not fit, the smartphone is the wrong model, and the watch does not suit the recipient's taste: can buyers simply return the goods? This is the advice of the consumer advice center NRW:

Can I always return goods I have bought in the store?

No, customers can only return goods free of defects on a goodwill basis. If you do not like products bought in the store, the retailer does not have to take them back.

The situation is different if the goods are defective or parts are missing - i.e. if there is a defect. Then buyers have a legal right to a replacement delivery. The seller must either repair or exchange the goods. You are only entitled to a refund if a repair fails twice or an exchange does not work. This so-called warranty is valid for two years from the date of purchase.

After the first six months, however, the obligation to provide evidence changes. Then dealers can demand that the customer prove to them that he has already bought the goods with a defect. After such a long time, it can be difficult for consumers. In fact, then the warranty protection usually ends.

Under certain circumstances, buyers can then still contact the manufacturer. They give the guarantee to their customers on a voluntary basis, so they can design the conditions freely. There may then be material, labor or shipping costs for customers.

Overall, brick-and-mortar retailers are usually very accommodating and also take back goods without defects. We found that in random samples. But every shop has its own rules. This applies to the period of possible return, opening the packaging or trying it out. Therefore, customers should have the return or exchange options confirmed in writing when purchasing.

Can I return goods that have been reduced?

Often, products that are on sale and are therefore offered at significantly lower prices are excluded from the exchange. A corresponding note is then noted on the product or on the notice. However, the goods can be returned under certain circumstances. That is, if it is acquired in a perfect condition and accordingly also returned in the goods - as far as the seller is accommodating. Because even with reduced products, it can happen that the color does not appeal to you at home or that the competition has discovered the same product at a significantly lower price.

It's best to ask kindly with the seller instead of insisting on your rights. This is often more helpful.

What right of return do I have in online shops?

Anyone who orders products on the Internet usually has a 14-day right of withdrawal. This means that customers can return the goods within this time without giving a reason and get their money back. After the period has expired, there is no legal claim to this in the case of defect-free goods. Some online shops voluntarily grant customers longer returns - sometimes under certain conditions.

An exception applies to personalized goods, such as tailor-made suits or clothing embroidered with names. Dealers have the option of completely excluding the right of withdrawal. Customers are then not allowed to simply send the goods back. Because the dealers can usually no longer sell these goods to other customers. Customers can find information on this in the general terms and conditions of the online shops.

Buyers should also inquire carefully whether they are allowed to unpack and try on clothes that are ordered online. Because in some cases dealers also exclude hygiene articles from the right of withdrawal. However, there is no regulation as to exactly what clothing goes with it. Our random samples show that retailers, for example, include swimsuits sometimes and then not.

Do I always need the receipt?

Not basically. However, proof of purchase is always required for an exchange. The bank statement or credit card statement is sufficient for this. The seller hereby wants to ensure that the goods were also purchased in his shop within a certain period of time.

What should I look for in private sales?

When private individuals buy items online - for example on Ebay - or at the flea market, they are often used goods. While dealers have to give a one year warranty on used goods, private sellers can exclude it.