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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Consumer Rights. Please advise if any re-dress to following. I

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Consumer Rights. Please advise if any re-dress to following.
I bought a three piece suite from BHS for £1117, cash ,ordered January with a 9 wk delivery, which was delivered a week ago 17th March It was far too big and I visited the store that day to advise, but they said it was a 'personal order' and couldnt be returned.

It was not a personal order, only being an option given in store regarding choice of fabric, choice of two or three seater settee etc, so not be-spoke in any way. I also contacted their Customer Service dept twice via email, and received no reply.

On the reverse of the order form it does state refund only within accordance with legal rights. However the type is extremely small, the line is at the very top of the page, when all other Terms and Conditions are set out in separate blocks with a heavier type heading on each. It is therefore extremely easy to overlook when looking at the main part of the form, and it surely should have been similarly displayed as its own heading ?

At no time did the shop assistant who took the order tell me the suite would be non returnable, which would have affected my decision to buy. Should this have been done as standard practice for customers information before placing the order ?

Although the purchase was not made via mail order or internet, which are covered by long Distance Regulations, would the fact the purchase was similarly 'unseen' until delivery, be similarly covered ?

I expected BHS to have a similar good customer service as M&S or XXXXX XXXXX, but have found them quite unsympathetic. If you would advise me of any redress I might have regarding refund, even with a reduction on original cost, I would be grateful.

With thanks
V Ambrose

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

I presume you accept buying this in store?

Did you agree cooling off rights?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I was not made aware I had cooling off rights. I did buy this in store, or rather placed the order in store.

Thats bad news I'm afraid.

There is no fault with this? Its just that its too large?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

If cooling off rights was not part of the terms and conditions on back of form, is this ommission to my advantage ?

No, not at all.

Would you mind telling me whether or not there are any faults or if its just a size issue?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Just size, my dis satisfaction is their lack of customer satisfaction, I even suggested accepting a 20% reduction on a refund and they re-sell as a display model, but they werent interested.


It seems a grey area if one can be covered by Distance Regulations if buying via internet or mail order as product unseen for suitability,and can be returned but not if bought in store, but still unseen until its delivered.

Thanks for the information and the time.

I am sorry but I cannot give you good news then. I’m afraid you are in difficulty here.

I do actually agree with the last point you made. Its something I’ve thought about before many times. However, its not a legal grey area. If you go in store and purchase a product then you do not have automatic cooling off rights even though the actual product you receive it unseen!

I’m afraid that unless you agreed cooling off rights under the contract none will automatically exist for this type of sale.

You do still have rights under the Sale of Goods Act to reject, exchange or repair anything with a fault but thats not your complaint here sadly.

Had it not already been delivered I would have suggested just refusing delivery. They would then have had the sofa to sell and so you would only have been liable for some administration costs but unfortunately they have already delivered so are not under an obligation to do anything.

Sometimes companies will do more than they have to in the interests of good business so it might be worth complaining emphatically.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

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