Primare restocking fees - no, no, no

I’ve noticed Primare are charging restocking fees on their website. These are fees on returned items.

Just to let people know that the charging of restocking fees is illegal in the EU / U.K. on products that are sold by distance means where that business operates in this territory. Distance selling legislation in the EU and U.K. gives the buyer the right to cancel the sale within 14 days of receipt of a product for a full refund if the product is in the same condition as sent out.

Primare’s sales policy shows they are doing it……I’ve seen quite a few shops do it in the U.K. and a few online stores of other brands. I’ve pointed it out to Terry Medalen at Primare, but be aware of this and when dealing with shops as if you are buying expensive items the restocking fees could be quite large.

They are entitled to recover costs for a no blame return as part of their 45 day Try at Home. This is based on the fact that they cover courier costs as part of the price of the item. €50 for a smaller item and €75 for a larger one is not unreasonable. Their get out of jail card is the 45 day period which exceeds any statutory period I am aware of. This is different for something which is damaged, badly made/finished or fails in use. I suspect the only way to test this would be in court.

In the UK, which is currently aligned to the EU on this, a trader can’t impose any fee on the consumer in respect of the refund if returned within the 14 day cooling off period.

There are some exclusions, e.g., customized / bespoke items, but for retail items, the buyer can return an item without reason and expect a full refund.

However, a deduction can be made if the value of the goods has been reduced as a result of you handling the goods more than was necessary.

But the extent to which you can handle the goods is the same as it would be if you were assessing them in a shop.

The policy states that if the item is returned within 45 days of receiving the product it will attract a restocking fee, so if you cancelled and returned within 10 days the NP5 still attracts the stated restocking fee. So the intention doesn’t seem to be the cost of return posting ? but if that’s what their intention is then I agree with you, it does, on reflection, seem reasonable. Like Buchardt do that - they post free but if returned then the consumer pays the return postage but Buchardt make it clear it isn’t a restocking fee.

However 25euros is above what is costs to send to America a small NP5 package , let alone within Europe - which makes me think it is a true charge on return and restocking fee, as well as stating it as such.

A consumer in the U.K. can under our distance selling laws, which stem from eu directives, claim back the price of the return standard postage if they paid it, but not additional post services they chose to pay. I suspect in mainland Europe it’s the same from enacted eu directives that require the same.

The fact they’ve said it is a restocking fee, I felt I should point it out. Maybe they will clarify as to what it is. I suspect they know that if they say it reflects postage then it puts pressure on to lower the return fees, which consumers could query, which is why they have stated it as a restocking fee, but since restocking fees aren’t legal they should not be stating it as such.

Where does it say re-stocking fees are not legal? It is one thing to say that there are circumstances where there should not be re-stocking fees, like the statutory period given in law for no fault returns of distance purchased items. But it is totally another thing to claim they are not legal if they offer the opportunity to return items beyond that statutory period.

Section 34 , subsection 8 of The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, in the U.K.

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The law specifies a period of 14 days, often referred to as the “cooling off” period. However, if a retailer extends the 14 days, as a number of UK retailers do from time-to-time, e.g., Christmas, that doesn’t change their obligations under the law.

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Primare did clarify they are a restocking fee but said to me that they only introduce the sale to the dealer……from Terry Medalen;

“Simon and all commenting here. I will not address the individual comments but rather the issue of the restocking fee.
Simon has made me aware of his concerns, and as a result I am clarifying the Terms and Conditions on the site with the hope of avoiding any additional misunderstanding.
The restocking fee applies only to direct web shop sales.
We do not allow for direct web shop sales in either the EU or UK countries.
We do have in place a “local dealer pickup” plan instituted in some EU countries and the UK in support of our authorised sales outlets in those locations.
This program was developed during lockdown to assist our partners in continuing doing business under restricted conditions.
Under that program, the item is ordered on our site for pickup and payment at the dealer and the transaction is undertaken according to the laws and regulations of that country.
In addition, the 45-day home trial offered to direct web shop customers Is not in place.
Conditions for home audition are negotiated between the customer and the individual dealer.
For direct web shop sales, we pay all shipping costs and duties, including return shipping, and the restocking fee is in place to partially recoup those costs.
If a customer objects to those conditions, they need not purchase from our web shop.”

Obviously if they don’t change it and keep it asking the consumer to tick the box to consent to the restocking fees then it may be something the shop relies on either to charge that modest restocking fee, or use it as a basis to charge more. Whatever no U.K. consumer should be being told to agree to a restocking fee when the statute doesn’t allow it. It will be interesting to see how they change it. I suspect they will have to remove the agreement to restocking fees which is quite right per the law.

The consumer is not liable for pre-populated optional items in the shopping basket, and the retailer can’t impose terms and conditions that remove their obligations under the law.

The proper way to deal with the recovery of indirect costs related to returns is to build it into the operating expenses (overhead).