Consumer Rights Myths
Hopefully you’ve read our articles on your consumer rights in Spain, but even so many myths still exist. Make sure you know what you can expect and, sometimes more importantly, what you can’t.
Myth 1: All online purchases come with free returns
Most online purchases have a 14-day cooling off period, except for personalised goods, but that doesn’t mean you get free returns automatically. Some online stores will allow you to return items to a bricks and mortar store for free, but there are those that will even charge you for this.
The only way to be sure is by checking the terms and conditions, which can be difficult if your Spanish is not so good – just look for “devoluciones” (returns) or “cambios” (exchanges).
Buying bulky items such as furniture may work out expensive to return, as you may be liable for the full cost of shipping – check before you buy.
Some of the best companies for free delivery and returns are online fashion stores, especially footwear stores such as Clarks. These companies know that the only way to get people to buy online is to make it hassle-free.
Myth 2: If I buy in a physical store and later change my mind I can get a full refund
You have no automatic right in Spain to get a refund just because you’ve decided that you don’t like an item. Many high street retailers will offer a full refund, but smaller shops may not, in some cases you may be offered a gift voucher.
Store policy must be clearly indicated – you can normally see this in the till area (either on the wall or on the counter). Remember that refunds will be by the same payment method: if you paid by credit card then your card will be credited, you won’t get cash.
Myth 3: I’ve lost the receipt, there’s nothing I can do
This one is tricky. As we move towards a paperless society with online billing we tend to take less care of keeping receipts safe. But if you need to return a purchase then a receipt is the quickest and easiest way to prove when and where you bought it. Long gone are the days where you could just take something back in a store bag as proof of purchase.
You may think that your credit card statement is enough, but what if you bought several items and paid for them together? Good luck with asking the store to check their till records from 10 days ago!
Myth 4: Shops can decide whether I’m entitled to use an official complaints form
Wrong! You have a legal right to request a complaints form, regardless of what the employee may tell you. If you have the slightest problem it’s usually enough to tell them that you’ll be back in 15 minutes accompanied by someone from the local Police Force.
Myth 5: You have no rights when you buy second hand items
Not true, however it is true to say that it’s a lot harder to get a store to adhere to the law (see our post on your rights).
Remember that specific faults pointed out at the time of purchase will not be covered by the second hand goods regulations, so it may be a good idea to take photos or note down defects.
Related Post: Know Your Consumer Rights