Some advice on returns

Online shopping, when it works, is a huge win. You get to order that cool top, the irresistible kitchen gizmo or your child’s school stationery from the comfort of your own home or work desk, and have it delivered, often at no extra cost, to the address of your choice.

The downside of all that convenience, of course, is that you don’t get to see the product before you buy it, so you could be massively disappointed by the look or fit of the product that gets delivered to you.

And you can forget instant gratification. You get to pay, and then wait.

Love interests

In the case of thousands of people whose love interests had opted to send them flowers via NetFlorist this Valentine’s Day, the most romantic day of the year came and went with no schmaltzy delivery.

There’s no getting that day back, but the Consumer Protection Act does cover such a scenario.

Picture: Annie Spratt/Unsplash

If an online retailer promises you delivery in three to five days, or on a particular day, and that doesn’t happen, you can cancel the order for a full refund, no matter what their own terms and conditions specify. The CPA trumps all other Ts and Cs.

NetFlorist will be doing thousands of refunds.

More columns by Wendy Knowler

So what if that top you bought online doesn’t flatter you or the gizmo doesn’t fit on your kitchen counter, as you assumed it would?

If you’d bought it in the traditional way, from a physical shop, you’d have no legal right to return it, given that it’s not defective, but buying online gives you the right to change your mind and get a refund.

Cooling-off

The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act gives consumers a cooling-off period of seven days, from the time you receive your product, in which to change your mind, send it back and get a full refund. It doesn’t have to be faulty for you to have that legal right.

The Act does state that the consumer must bear the cost of returning unwanted products, but some online retailers, such as Zando, opt to cover that cost. That’s a no-risk buying scenario for consumers.

What’s not to love?