Richer Sounds only retailer to pass Which? returns probe

Electrical retailer Richer Sounds was the only retailer to pass a recent Which? investigation on consumers’ rights on returns.

According to Which? almost 50 major online retailers were found to be misleading customers or failing to provide clear information on their websites about buyers’ rights to return products.

The investigation included 46 popular retailers and supermarkets, with 45 failing to offer clear and accurate information.

Which? claimed that these inaccurate policies were leading to widespread confusion among over their rights on returns, faulty goods and warranties.

“We found a number of major retailers gave the wrong information on their websites about returning faulty goods and unwanted online purchases,” it said in a statement. “Others failed to make a distinction between their own store returns policies and statutory rights under the Consumer Rights Act and Consumer Contracts Regulations. Some retailers presented misleading information that wrongly encouraged customers to pursue faulty goods claims with warranty providers first. Which? even found one case where we believe the returns policy was unlawful.

“But it’s not all doom and gloom. Richer Sounds, for example, displays exemplary guidance for faulty goods and online returns.”

Which? tested several criteria, such as advice and timelines on returning faulty goods, statutory rights, online returns advice and timelines, and whether retailers/supermarkets encourage the public to make a claim with the manufacturer rather than a retailer.

Richer Sounds chairman, David Robinson, commented: “As an ethical retailer and employer, the Richer Sounds team work hard to ensure that customers are cared for, especially after they purchase. It’s incredibly rewarding that our returns policy has been highlighted in this way, as we want people to buy from us with confidence.”

Since the investigation took place 10 retailers have now updated their websites to clarify the unwanted and faulty goods returns information. These included AO.com, Aldi, Apple, Ebuyer, Iceland, Lakeland, M&S, Ocado, Tesco Direct and Wiggle.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: “As a nation that is increasingly shopping online, it is important that trusted retailers do not mislead consumers about their rights.

“We will continue to challenge those that carry on confusing their customers.”