Winter Sales in Spain: Your Consumer Rights
So many bargains, so little time! Your consumer rights aren’t affected during the winter sales, read on to see what you can and can’t do.
What can you return?
Normal consumer rights remain the same during the sales. This means you have NO automatic right to return items simply because you don’t like them.
Larger stores with nationwide branches tend to be more flexible and allow exchanges or returns even if you’ve changed your mind.
Watch out though with clothes for special occasions, such as partywear. There may be different rules to avoid people wearing items once and returning them.
Returns are normally refunded by the same method of payment. If you paid by card you’ll get a credit on your next statement.
Smaller stores may put up signs saying no returns during sales periods, check before you buy. Even if a sign is visible, this does not affect faulty items as these can always be returned.
Sales start and end dates
Traditionally the winter sales start on 7 Jan and finish at the end of Feb. However with online stores blurring the lines regarding both tradition and regulations, you’ll find different start and end dates depending on the store.
Consumer protection in Spain during the sales
Sales items should have been sold at a higher price prior to the sales commencing. Labels must show the previous price and the new reduced price.
During the sales period regional inspectors carry out checks on stores to ensure that they comply with the rules (but fines tend to be small for non-compliance).
Every year the two main Spanish consumer organisations, OCU and Facua, carry out their own surveys to check whether stores are complying with the law.
Warranties are not affected by the price of the product, and neither are any post-sales services.
Use the official claims form. Stores cannot refuse to give you one. If they do just tell them you’ll inform the local police office to deal with the issue, this tends to be enough for them to hand over a form!
Buying online during the sales
Online you automatically have a right to enjoy the 14-day “cooling off period” (read more here) meaning you can return clothing or shoes just because you don’t like them to get a full refund.
If you find it hard to resist a bargain, buying online is a great way to ensure you can return items (no questions asked!) However check whether you have to pay for shipping; many companies provide free returns (they send a courier) or directly in one of their stores.
If you need to return a Xmas gift (whether bought in the sales or not), check if you’ve been given a “ticket regalo” (a gift receipt that doesn’t show the price).
Some stores may only provide a voucher / gift card, rather than a refund or exchange. In these cases make sure to ask how long it will be valid.
In order to save money, make a list of the items you really need. It’s easy to be swayed by attractive bargains which never get used. Don’t forget to keep all your receipts just in case!