14 day cooling off period

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emailer | 12:56 Mon 31st Dec 2007 | Law
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Is it true that if you buy something in a shop that there is always a 14 day cooling off period in which you can get your money back? If so, is this stated anywhere on the internet
(it is to solve an argument and if it exists, I would like to be able to print this information off to show someone)


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No its not true. Cooling off periods usually apply to goods and services sold away from the business premises, i.e in a customers home or over the phone or internet. Even then the cooling off period is seven days, not fourteen.

See here: ource_base/legal/distance-selling-regulations/
When you buy an item in a shop you have entered a legally binding contract.

The shop is not legally obliged to refund or exchange unless the item is not as described; faulty; or not fit for the purpose it was sold.

However, if a store advertises an exchange or refund period it must honour that, provided the goods are returned in exactly the condition they were sold.
Further to CC's excellent (and completely correct) answer:

When you buy something in a shop, you're entering into a contract under which you agree to pay a certain amount in exchange for certain goods. As soon as you've handed over the money, and received the goods, the contract has been completed and there are no further obligations upon either side.

So, for example, you might buy an item of clothing for �20. Once you've bought the item, the retailer can't then stop you and say "Sorry, I've decided that the price is �30. Hand over another tenner". Equally, you can't make any demands upon the retailer. Even if you realise, just one second after completing the purchase, that you've bought the wrong size, you have no right to demand a refund or exchange. If you attempt to do so, the retailer can legally say "Tough. Get out of my shop". The retailer is not responsible for your mistakes. (Why should he be?)

There are, of course, separate legal provisions relating to faulty goods (or where, for example, the retailer had attached a ticket indicating an incorrect size) but the general rule is that once you've bought an item, there are no further obligations upon the seller.


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