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If you were misled or pressured into buying something you didn’t want

This advice applies to Wales

You have the legal right to a refund if:

  • you feel you were unfairly pressured into buying a product or service you didn't want
  • you were misled about the product or service you bought

You might also be able to get compensation for distress or inconvenience.

It doesn't matter where you were sold the item or service - it can include door-to-door selling, telephone or online sales or in a shop.

If you've been tricked into buying something by a fraudulent seller you've probably been scammed - find out how to report it.

Check if you were pressured into buying something

Being pressured into buying something is known as 'aggressive selling'. Aggressive selling can include things like:

  • entering your home and refusing to leave until you buy something
  • using scare tactics to convince you that you need something - for example saying that your health would be at risk if you didn't buy the product
  • telling you you've ordered something you haven't
  • constantly contacting you and pestering you into buying something
  • using guilt to force you to buy something - for example, telling you they'll lose their job if you don't

Example

A salesperson arrives at your house. You ask them to leave but they say they need to get a sale today or they’ll lose their job. They want you to buy an expensive mattress that you don’t need or can’t afford, and they give you a piece of paper that says you can pay the mattress off over the next 12 months. You sign just so that they’ll leave your house.

If you think a seller might have been aggressive but you're not sure if you're entitled to a refund you should contact the Consumer Service and explain what's happened. They'll advise you on your rights. 

Check if you were misled into buying something

Misleading selling can include things like:

  • giving you wrong information about the product or service
  • giving you the wrong advice about what product would be best for you
  • wrongly saying you need to buy extra things to make the most of your product
  • exaggerating what the product can do compared to other products
  • advertising something as reduced or a sale item when it wasn't ever sold at full price
  • keeping important information about the product or service hidden or obscured

Even if the seller did these things by mistake, or because they were misinformed, it still counts as misleading selling.

Example
You went to an electrical store to buy a TV. A salesperson gave you the wrong advice about what TV would best meet your needs and you were persuaded to buy a more expensive one than you needed. The TV was also advertised as '£250, reduced from £450' - but the TV had never been sold in the store for £450.

If you think a seller might have been aggressive but you're not sure if you're entitled to a refund you should contact the Consumer Service and explain what's happened. They'll advise you on your rights. 

Check if you can get a refund

You might be entitled to a refund or partial refund - it'll depend on your circumstances.

You're legally entitled to a full refund if you got the product or you started the service less than 90 days ago and you haven't used it all up. For example you bought gym membership with a number of classes included but you haven't been to them all.

You're legally entitled to a partial refund if any of the following apply:

  • you got the product or started the service over 90 days ago
  • you used a service for a month or more - for example if you signed up to a TV service and used it for 40 days
  • you want to keep what you paid for - for example if a seller used aggressive selling to sell you double glazing and you'd rather keep it than get the work undone

If you're entitled to a full refund

Write or speak to the seller you bought the item or service from.

Example of what to say or write

"The person who sold me the item/service acted aggressively/misled me. I'm entitled to a full refund under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008."

You should tell them how you were pressured or misled into buying the item or service - explain the behaviours of the salesperson or show them the misleading information you were given in a brochure or on a website.

Keep a copy of any letter you send or make a note of the conversation and who you talked to.

Seriousness of caseRefundExample
More than minor 25% Seller misleads you about the delivery date for a product
Significant 50% A business misleads you about the health benefits of a product
Serious 75% A salesman visits your home and greatly exaggerates how effective their double glazing would be in reducing your energy bills and refuses to leave until you sign an order form
Very serious 100% A salesman visits your home and bullies you into signing a contract for home insulation you don't want and wrongly says the work is required by local council regulations

Your refund should be worked out differently if both the following apply:

  • your service or item cost £5,000 or more
  • you paid more than the going market price for the item or service - and there's clear evidence of this

For example if you bought a car for £6,500 but realised afterwards its mileage had been clocked and its real worth was £5,000.

In this situation, your refund should be the difference between what you paid and what the service or item should have been worth.

Once you know how much of a refund you want, you should write or speak to the seller.

Example of what to say or write

"The person who sold me the item/service acted aggressively/misled me. I'm entitled to a partial refund under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008."

You should tell them how you were pressured or misled into buying the item or service - explain the behaviours of the salesperson or show them the misleading information you were given in a brochure or on a website.

Tell them how much you want refunded to you and explain how you worked out the amount - for example how serious their actions were and the impact it had on you.

Keep a copy of any letter you send or make a note of the conversation and who you talked to.

Claiming compensation

You may also be able to claim compensation for stress or inconvenience if you've been misled or pressured into buying something.

You can also claim for reasonable extra expenses - such as a delivery charge. Keep receipts for these as evidence for your claim. The seller won't have to pay for these if they can show they did all they could to avoid misleading you or engaging in aggressive sales.

It's hard to put a figure on how much compensation you deserve. You'll need to think of a reasonable amount - contact your local Citizens Advice if you need help with this.

If the seller won’t refund your money

If the seller won’t refund your money, ask them if they’re a member of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme - it’s a way of solving disagreements without going to court. If they don’t respond or won’t use an ADR scheme, keep a record of the fact that you asked them (and the date).

If they don't respond or won't use an ADR scheme

If you can't resolve the situation through an ADR scheme you'll probably have to take the seller to court to get a refund. Taking court action can be a slow and expensive process, so make sure you take professional advice before you do this. You can get help from your local Citizens Advice.

Report an aggressive or misleading seller to Trading Standards

It's a good idea to report an aggressive or misleading seller to Trading Standards - they won't help resolve your case but they can stop the trader from acting unfairly in the future. This could stop them from taking advantage of other people.

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