Online shoppers 'faced with confusing information about returns rights'

Major retailers have not been spelling out consumers' returns rights clearly enough on their websites, an investigation by Which? suggests.

The consumer group said it had assessed the information provided about online returns and faulty goods rights on the websites of 46 popular retailers and supermarkets, finding that 45 did not offer information that was completely accurate and clear.

It said that as a result of its investigation, several retailers have since updated their information to clarify the unwanted and faulty goods returns information it highlighted to them, including M&S and Tesco Direct.

When buying online, shoppers have stronger rights to send back items they do not want under the Consumer Contracts Regulations. A Which? guide explains online shopping returns and refund rights at which.co.uk/returnsonline.

Which? said it is concerned that some policies are contributing to widespread confusion on returns rights, faulty goods rights and warranties, leaving many consumers out of pocket.

It said that in the case of Iceland, an online returns policy for unwanted goods that Which? looked at incorrectly stated it would not accept returns on items bought in error or if a customer had changed their mind.

Iceland said it was grateful to Which? for drawing this issue to its attention.

An Iceland spokesman said: "We immediately expanded the frequently asked questions on our returns policy on our website when the lack of detail was drawn to our attention by Which?

"We do not believe that our customers were disadvantaged by this previous lack of detail as our customer contact centre was fully and correctly briefed on our returns policy at all times."

Which? also said that Morrisons had incorrect information on its returns and refunds FAQs (frequently asked questions).

A Morrisons spokesman said: "We give customers really clear advice in our terms and conditions on how to cancel goods they no longer want."

But he said the frequently asked questions section of its website did have an error "and we'll be correcting this".

Which? has help with returning faulty goods at which.co.uk/faulty.

Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: "We will continue to challenge those that carry on confusing their customers."

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