Replacements, refunds and credit notes
If you buy unfit or faulty goods you are entitled to a replacement, a repair or a refund. Whether you are entitled to a replacement, repair or a refund can depend on the goods in question and other circumstances. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) provide examples of when you can expect a replacement, repair or a refund on the CCPC website.
If you are entitled to a refund it is worthwhile noting that the retailer or supplier of services can give a refund in cash, cheque or to a credit card account. If you are returning goods that are faulty you do not have to accept a credit note or a voucher. The differences between refunds, credit notes and vouchers are explained below.
- A refund means the retailer returns the money you paid for faulty goods. If you originally paid for the goods on a credit or debit card, the retailer may refund the credit or debit card instead of giving cash. If your consumer complaint is valid a retailer cannot insist on giving you a credit note instead of a refund.
- A credit note is a paper note issued by a retailer to a customer when goods are returned. A credit note acts like a voucher that can only be used in the particular shop or chain of shops that issued the credit note. If you are returning goods that are faulty you do not have to accept a credit note. Instead, you can ask for a repair, a replacement or a refund depending on the goods in question and other circumstances. If you accept a credit note you may not be able to ask for a refund afterwards.
- A voucher is a paper note or a card. Generally you can only use a voucher with a particular service provider or retailer. When you buy a voucher, the terms of the voucher should be stated (for example how long the voucher is valid for). You have no rights if you lose a voucher.
Remember, if you change your mind about a product you are not entitled to either return the goods or to a refund. In this case, a retailer may give you a refund or a credit note to the value of the goods but they are not obliged to do so.
Each consumer case is different and there are few hard and fast rules so contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission or other consumer protection organisation to find out exactly what your rights are.