No refund for returned product

  Lead 17:24 20 Jan 2005

I bought a Bluetooth GPS unit from Simply Computers at the beginning of September last year. The day after I ordered it, I found the same product cheaper elsewhere, so I made arrangements for its return. I subsequently returned the item, at my own expense, the day after I received it. It was unopened. I sent the parcel Special Delivery and Royal Mail have confirmed the parcel was delivered and signed for on the 6th September 2004, i.e. within 7 days of receiving the item.

I bought the item using a credit card and when I noticed the refund (£189) wasn't on my statement, I contacted Simply via email. After a few days they eventually replied. Initially they claimed they hadn't received the parcel. They then changed their mind and said they had received the parcel and that they had already given me a refund. I called my credit card company and they have confirmed no refund was ever made.

To cut a long story short, I have been corresponding with both Simply and Capital One ever since and it seems neither company are doing anything. It has been over 4 months and I still haven't got my £189. I have posted all relevant documentation to Capital One, as per their request, and have been communicating with Simply via email. I have threatened legal action and Trading Standards have also recommended the small claims court if Simply continue to delay. This is now looking to be my only remaining course of action.

I have only ever used the Small Claims Court once and remember having to pay a fee upfront. What happens if I fill in all the paperwork, pay the fee and in the meantime Simply correct their mistake and give me a refund? Will I then be out of pocket for the Small Claims Court fees?

  FelixTCat 17:47 20 Jan 2005

Write formally to Simply AND to Capital One saying that you hold them jointly and severally liable and that if the money is not refunded to you and in your account within 14 days you will take out an action against both of them in the County Court for the value of the card, all postage and packing, telephone and court costs (tell them how much this is). Because the value was above £100 then Capital One must pay you if Simply do not.

If the money doesn't arrive in 14 days, take out a court action and Simply will have to pay all the costs. Even if they just repay the £189 they will not have discharged their liability.

Normally the threat, particularly when also directed at the credit card company, is enough.

  spuds 23:21 20 Jan 2005

If and when you contact Capital One, state that you are holding them 'Equally Responsible' under the terms of Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.It is their legal duty to help sort out the problem, there is no need to threaten court action.Give them a time scale in which you want a response, say 7 or 14 days.

Some credit card companies, not all, are not very responsive if they think the customer is ignorant of the law.

  Salinger 23:46 20 Jan 2005

Returning a product just because you found it cheaper elsewhere is not grounds for demanding a refund.

  bta1 23:51 20 Jan 2005

No, but your statutory rights allow at least a seven day cancellation for ANY purchase. Any company worth its salt gives you thirty days to change your mind.

Seems to me you've been treated badly. Take the advice above and let us know what happens.

(Incidently giving a time limit on something makes companies move quicker than a greasy pig in a pipe.)

  Forum Editor 01:51 21 Jan 2005

under current consumer legislation you may return any item purchased online, without giving a reason, provided you notify the supplier of your intention - via a 'durable medium' - within 7 days of the date of delivery. The law has determined that an email is classed as a durable medium, by the way. Outside of the 7 days you have no right of return, unless the goods are in some way faulty, were wrongly described by the supplier, or unless the supplier has voluntarily extended the 7-day period. Returned goods must be in perfect condition, and must be returned in any original packing material, unless the supplier says otherwise.

You must notify the supplier of your intention - it's no good just sending something back - and provided you do that, and you comply with any request regarding including a returns number etc., the supplier has 30 days within which to refund your money in full.

From what you say it appears that you complied fully, and the money should have been back in your card account within the thirty days allowed by law. That hasn't happened, and you haven't been given any explanation as to why. On the face of it ( and obviously I'm basing this opinion on what you have told us)Simply Computers have failed to meet their obligation in law, and in those circumstances I would do exactly as FelixTCat has said - without the specific threat of court action. Time enough for that if nothing happens. Send both letters by special delivery.

  Lead 07:38 21 Jan 2005

Thank you for your replies.

I have been corresponding with the credit card company via telephone and mail, and with Simply via email, for the last 4 months. At first I didn't mention court action, but did quote Distance Selling Regulations to back up my case. It didn't help. After about 2 months I said I would take the matter to the small claims court if it wasn't resolved in 14 days. It's now been over 4 months (3 months over their legal requirement to refund me) and I have lost all patience.

The one thing I haven't done is actually write to Simply. So I will do that right away. But I fear my only course of action is to fill out the paperwork in preparation for legal proceedings. I think I have already given them ample time to sort it out.

Can anyone answer the original question regarding the court fees? I know that if it goes to court and I am successful, I should get the fees back. But what if it doesn't get that far? If Simply/Capital One sort the refund out before it gets there, are they still required to reimburse the court fees?

In response to the statement regarding returning a product simply because I found it cheaper elsewhere: as previously mentioned, I am well within my rights to do this. I notified Simply before I even received the item that I wished to return it. I stated why and that I wanted a full refund under the Distance Selling regulations. It was apparently too late to cancel the order. I knew I couldn't ask for a refund of my P&P costs, so I didn't. I paid to return it myself.

What do you think my chances of receiving some form of compensation are? (Interest on credit card, cost of letters, calls, emotional distress.) After all, they are in breach of the law by over 3 months.

Again, thank you for all your advice. It’s always a weight off when you share problems like this.

  anchor 09:33 21 Jan 2005

I suggest a visit to your local citizens advice bureau, who will be able to give you all the information you require.

Meantime, have a look here:

click here

  Aristocatman 21:13 21 Jan 2005

I think even if they pay up before it goes to court they are still liable for court fees once you have lodged the claim with the Court.

  Lead 04:33 23 Jan 2005

Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

Still no word from either Simply or Capital One.

  Lead 18:07 29 Jan 2005

Still no sign of my refund. :(

I posted a letter, registered post, to Simply Computers explaining the situation, again, and giving them a deadline. I anticipate no response and I expect I'll have to take it to court. <sigh>

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