Exchanging clothes: The most common mistakes and how you can avoid them
Who doesn’t know it: ordering the same jeans in two sizes and three colors, buying the dress in the shop without trying it on because the changing rooms were too full, or taking a piece with you that was an absolute bad buy. All of these are classic shopping scenarios of our time. But what exactly do you do in such a case? Because a Exchange or return policy there is no money-back guarantee – or only in special cases. Otherwise, you move within the 14-day rule and are (always) dependent on the accommodation of the respective shop, in compliance with the regulations applicable there. In most cases, this can be found on the sales receipt or signposted directly at the checkout. Those who know their rights and obligations have a clear advantage, which is why we have put together an overview of the most common no-gos and exchange errors together – including a list of helpful tips that you should know in advance.
Right of return: The 9 biggest no-gos that you should consider when exchanging clothes
1. Return underwear, swimwear and accessories
For reasons of hygiene, purchased underwear, bikinis, bathing suits and earrings are usually non-returnable or can only be exchanged if the security seal on the slip (for underwear and swimwear) is still present.
2. Exchange made-to-order
Have you had a dress or blazer tailored for you? Then a return is unfortunately almost impossible, since the item can no longer be sold to another person by the retailer.
3. Didn’t read the laundry slip?
The newly bought t-shirt is two sizes smaller than before after the first wash, and the new dress has ugly marks from the iron after being ironed? Make sure you have followed all the care instructions on the laundry label correctly – otherwise the item cannot be returned. Anyone who does not find out about the care of the garment before washing it (see label) has to live with the consequences and has no right to an exchange.
4. Make returns a habit
Especially with online orders, you should not overdo it with the return of ordered items in one and the same shop – in the worst case, the goodwill can be overused and the customer account blocked if you don’t keep any of your orders. In addition, postal shipping (especially from abroad) is not exactly environmentally friendly, so if you think about your ecological footprint, only order what you will definitely keep.
5. Remove hanging straps and labels
While missing price labels are usually still accepted for newly purchased items, you have a bad hand when returning items that have been cut off. Therefore, please only remove them when you are really sure that you want to keep the piece.
6. Arguing wrong
A little trick: If you, as a consumer, indicate when exchanging or returning that a purchased item does not fit you, you have better chances, especially in retail, than if you say that you do not like the item of clothing so much.
7. Return clothing that has already been worn
The light sweater has a small rouge or make-up stain on the collar, the shoes already have scratches on the soles and the jacket smells of food or a pub? In each of these cases, you should refrain from claiming that the items of clothing are unworn and wanting to exchange or even return them. Every seller is trained on such scams and recognizes them immediately.
8. Exaggerated remarks
You accidentally grabbed the wrong piece while shopping and only noticed it when you got home? We all have days when everything just goes wrong and things happen that almost sound like something out of a movie. Save yourself adventurous explanations when exchanging at the checkout, because they tend to make salespeople suspicious and ensure that the exchanged item is examined more closely. So it is better to explain briefly and factually (and of course politely) why you want to return an item. Then no one is annoyed, and the chances of success and goodwill are greater.
9. Return reduced goods
There is often an exception for reduced goods. Before you buy, find out if you can exchange or return discounted items of clothing. In most cases, you will be informed of this directly when paying or you will find a corresponding note on the purchase receipt.
6 tips for exchanging clothes: These rules exist and you should know them in advance
Not only with clothing that was bought new, it often happens that something doesn’t like it, doesn’t fit, breaks after a short time or doesn’t work at all. It is often not clear what the right to an exchange or replacement is. We explain the most important rules and tips regarding the right of exchange, right of return and right of withdrawal.
1. The customer is always king: As a customer, I always have the right to an exchange or return, right?
One of the biggest mistakes is the assumption that as a customer you can exchange or return goods that you simply don’t like. This is not the case, explains Stiftung Warentest. You have no legal right to a return just because you don’t like the product. The fact that most shops still offer an exchange or return is purely out of goodwill towards the consumer. You should be aware of this when you go back to the shop with the unloved knitted cardigan. We therefore recommend that you remain calm and polite, even if the line is long, and explain objectively what exactly the problem is (unfortunately, the goods do not correspond to personal taste at all or do not fit properly). It is of course a must that the goods are returned clean, unused and with proof of purchase (within 14 days of purchase).
2. Shopping with a money-back guarantee: As a consumer, do I always get my money back?
Based on the fact that an exchange is generally based on the goodwill of the business, the customer also has no legal right to receive the money he/she paid for. Retailers often offer the choice between a voucher or a payout, but they don’t have to. If you are only offered a voucher, you must accept it or keep the goods.
3. Where is the label? Can I exchange goods that are missing a price tag or sticker?
Most of the time yes. If you still have the receipt and the goods have not been used, it is usually possible to use an article number to verify that you actually bought this product. This applies to clothing, for example, but also to books and perfumes. However, it is imperative that the inside labels sewn onto a garment have not been removed or barcodes (such as on a book) have not been crossed out. Once this has happened, retailers can no longer trace the purchase, even with the receipt, and an exchange is often no longer possible. Here, too, the seller can decide to only offer you a voucher and not a cash payment.
4. The receipt is missing: return without a receipt – is that possible?
Yes. From a legal point of view, however, you absolutely need another type of proof of purchase, such as a bank statement for card payments or a personal witness. Although this proves the actual purchase, it does not secure the right to an exchange per se. However, if the shop generally accepts exchanges, then in this case the goodwill of the seller counts: inside, who can understand the price via the serial number on the inner label, similar to the missing label. If the item is now on sale, for example, it is possible that you will not receive the original price but the discounted amount as a voucher.
5. The goods are defective: What am I entitled to?
Special rules apply to defective or defective goods, such as a non-functioning toy, a sewing error in the blouse or a book page that is printed crookedly. Unlike a gift that doesn’t fit or you don’t like, you have a legal right to a replacement or repair. However, the right to complain does not necessarily include the right to get the money back. If the defect occurs within the first six months after the date of purchase, the:the manufacturer:is entitled to two repair attempts or he:she must pay for replacement goods. If this is not successful, you can reclaim the purchase price. But beware! The trader may claim an amount of money as a usage compensation if you have used the product for a while. It is also worth knowing that sellers are obliged to compensate in the event of a defect and are not allowed to fobbe you off with references to the product manufacturer. In general, the right to complain for new goods applies for two years from the date of purchase, but after the first six months it must be proven that the defect was present from the start through no fault of your own.
6. Special rules for online shopping: do the same rules apply here as in shops?
It’s amazing how much more generous the legal situation is when you order online. In contrast to purchases directly in the store, the right of withdrawal always applies to purchases via a website, by telephone, order form or online form. It is valid for 14 days from receipt of the goods (not from the date of purchase) and allows you to simply return goods without giving a reason – provided the products are unused and in salable condition.