What is the legal term to return a purchase?

Although Spanish and Community legislation is clear, and determines the time that a person who has acquired an asset has to return it for some reason, there are nuances derived from very different situations. Conditions change depending on place where you make the purchase, in a physical or online store, depending on the kind of product the one in question and also the return policy that each establishment follows.

Until when can I return something I do not want without explaining?

This is the first question to stop at, because it is common to start from the wrong idea. The Royal Legislative Decree 1/2007 (@boegob) by which the revised text of the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users and other complementary laws is approved does not say in any of its articles that the consumer can return an article and demand to recover their money because not satisfied, as a well-known advertising campaign said.

As explained by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU @consumers) a business, in which you purchase any product in person, is not obliged to refund your money simply because you’ve changed your mind. The return will only have to be accepted, without excuses, in two cases:

  1. If the article has a tare or defectFor example, a piece of clothing in which you notice obvious deterioration or an appliance that is not working properly.
  2. Yes does not correspond to what was announced. Imagine that you are interested in an exhibited product and when you buy it, you do not take exactly that one, but one, supposedly the same, already packed, but when you get home and open the box it is not what you had previously looked at.

These are the two cases in which you could return to the store and make the return.

Return of online purchases

An important detail is that, although in most cases the seller will choose to return your money, they also have the possibility of offering you other options, such as repairing the possible malfunction or give you a discount. The Law also does not establish a maximum period in which you can exercise your right of return in these cases, although logically, the defect detected the sooner you try to fix the situation, the better.

Each physical establishment has its own return policy and, as you recall, the OCU is essential to know it before making any purchase, especially if you are not completely sure of it. A large majority offer the possibility of returning items within 15 days of purchase to give the customer more security and increase their sales but, we insist, they are not obliged to do so, with a nuance: if they advertise this possibility, they must comply with it, because otherwise you could exercise your right to claim.

With a simple question you will have all the information you need regarding any possible exchange or return clarifying questions such as whether they return the money even if the product is not defective, if instead of recovering your cash, they offer you vouchers for future purchases, set times, etc.

Does it work the same on the Internet?

In this case, the Law protects consumers even more, because any purchase that does not take place in a physical store, for example, those that are made more and more frequently through the Internet and also sales by catalog, or by phone have a return period, perfectly determined of 14 days.

It is what is called right of withdrawal, which, as explained by the European Consumer Center in Spain (@eccspain) implies that any consumer who purchases a product through any of these channels, can return it in that period without having to give the slightest explanation and although the product has arrived in perfect condition.

legal deadline to return purchases

Are there exceptions for certain items?

Whether you have made the purchase in a physical establishment or if you have done it through a website or electronic commerce platform, the Law considers that in the case of some products return is not possible nor could you demand a refund of your money.

It occurs for example with custom or custom made goodsa, with products that are delivered sealed for hygiene or health reasons, with those that deteriorate very quickly, such as food, or also with those recordings (computer programs, CDs …) that have been unsealed.

Remember that in order to make any return and in the event of not reaching an agreement with the merchant and wanting to make a claim, it is essential to present the receipt or purchase invoice, both on paper and electronically. Demanding it at the time of purchase is basic, among other things because the date of purchase appears there. Having it is the first step so, if you are not satisfied, for any reason, with the product purchased, you can exercise your rights as a consumer.