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back to article Apple 'cans restocking fees'

Apple is to drop re-stocking fees on products returned to its US retail stores, according to reports. Currently the company imposes a 10 per cent re-stocking fee on non-defective products returned by customers. Restocking fees are a common practice among US manufacturers and retailers, but unpopular with American consumers. …

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Silver badge
Unhappy

Illegality in the UK

"In the UK restocking fees are illegal and this is one of the many reasons that electronics goods cost more than in the US."

I'd love to see where that's cited as a reason. If it's buried in the actual retail price, then it's a stealth restocking fee, and presumably still illegal.

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Bronze badge

shocking fee!

In France, you do not have this. In shops of bricks and mortar you get credit when you return a non-faulty product, and that only if you are lucky! The credit may expire after a period, say six months. When you buy online, you have 7 days to change your mind.

So I buy most stuff online ...

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Anonymous Coward

As a froggy myself...

I'll add that France is not a good reference for consumer rights.

Anonymous - because saying you're french on this website may be bad PR.

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Anonymous Coward

Really?

"In the UK restocking fees are illegal"

Are you sure?

If bought from a shop, then a) the store has NO legal resposibilty to take the item back unless i) it is faulty or ii)it is mis-sold or misdiscribed. So I belive they are netitled to charge a restocking fee.

However, if bought online or over the phone, you are covered by the distance selling act, where they have to accept the goods with no charges applied.

Of course I don't belive either of these apply to B2B transactions, but may be wrong on that point.

So IMHO it is a question of context.

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Anonymous Coward

Also

"If bought from a shop, then a) the store has NO legal resposibilty to take the item back unless i) it is faulty or ii)it is mis-sold or misdiscribed. So I belive they are netitled to charge a restocking fee."

Going back to my time working at PC World (yes, I'm anonymous) if the product is also unopened (including the shrink wrapping) then you can get a full refund within 7 days.

If it's been opened, or for the reasons you state, then it's down to the store. PCW used to do credit notes with 10% knocked off as the product would be re-sold as opened at 10% discount.

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Pint

As a consumer, you have a lot on your side

My understanding that any store trading in the UK, whether DSR or high-street, has an obligation to be "reasonable". You can take anything back "within a reasonable amount of time", opened or still sealed and the shop has to offer you something, from replacement to full refund, they cannot simply refuse to deal with.

"You have to contact the manufacturer.", is a always a good one. Nope! My problem is with you, the retailer, not the manufacturer. You sold me faulty goods, so you are responsible. IF however the retailer offers to take the broken product and send it back to the manufacturer for you and get you the replacement, then they can be seen as being reasonable and you have less to argue.

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Boffin

Distance Selling Act

The distance selling act does indeed apply to items bought over the net, not just the phone. Doesn't apply to auctions at fleabay (but does apply to "buy-it-now" items).

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legality

I guess the author is getting mixed up with the Distance Selling Regulations here.

As another poster stated, restocking fees are most certainly not illegal for 'face to face' sales, to which the DSR does not apply, and even when it comes to online purchases the distance selling regulations are not actually law, and as such breaking them is not 'illegal'. They are standards to which online sellers are expected to adhere, and which provide guidance as to liability in the case of any disputes.

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Silver badge

But if he was thinking of the Distance Selling Regulations...

... then it seems a bit odd to single out the UK, given that they are an EU directive. From Google alone, I can find some case law that The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 have been used to quash restocking fees based on the prohibition of terms "requiring any consumer who fails to fulfil his obligation to pay a disproportionately high sum in compensation;", but without a proper law library at my disposal it's difficult to find anything more specific than that. And the standard Sale of Goods Act and Unfair Contract Terms Act bits prohibit a restocking fee for faulty merchandise, but that isn't really relevant.

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Law

"the distance selling regulations are not actually law, and as such breaking them is not 'illegal'"

I'm not sure I agree with you there.

The Consumer Protection Regulations is the UK acceptance into law of the EU distance selling rules; catchily known as Directive 97/7/EC (and, yes, I did have to look that up). http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:31997L0007:EN:NOT

While the Office of Fair Trading may not be the scariest thing, if someone believes that their consumer rights have been infringed (i.e., goods not being accepted back within the 7 day clause), they're obligated to investigate and (if needed) litigate on the consumer's behalf.

Anyone with any free time is suggested to read this wonderful site: http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/after_you_buy/know-your-rights/

There's nothing more powerful than a consumer knowing their rights, since most retailers either don't seem to or don't care (knowing that most consumers don't know).

IANAL, just a consumer that knows his rights.

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Boffin

DSR is law

They are contained in a Statutory Instrument which effectively makes them part of the statute and completely enforceable - within the EU.

After the 7 days, however, the goods are yours - unless they are faulty or misdescribed the seller can impose any terms they like for taking them back.

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Online law library

http://www.legislation.gov.uk

This is the DSRegs

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2334/contents/made

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Restockage is irrelevant

Lets see: an 8GB iPod Nano is $US139 on amazon.com, which would be £89.40 over here, *BUT* Amazon wants £119.99 for it. That's a mark-up of 34%.

Restockage is 10%. If we guess that 1 in 10 items are returned because the purchaser changed their mind, this becomes an excess of 1% on each item. Thats an overestimate, though, because a lot fewer than 1 in 10 will return goods for such a trivial reason.

In short, restocking fees are a mighty skimpy figleaf to hide a 34% rip-off behind. If the goods were made in the USA there might be a partial justification because shipping costs and import duties we'd pay wouldn't apply there. However, as the stuff is probably made in China this excuse is null and void since consumers in both countries have to pay similar costs and duties.

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Stop

Don't forget

UK prices include 20% VAT and US prices do not include sales tax.

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FAIL

title etc

Another person who entirely forgets about VAT

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Silver badge

Restocking fees are just one of the (alleged) reasons

Other reasons for things costing more over here: VAT, the Distance Selling Regulations, higher taxation in general. But we get things like free hospitals and increased consumer rights out of the deal.

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Fair cop...

... but that still leaves a 14% excess - and that's at least 14 times the restocking charge that was being blamed for our higher prices.

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@fair cop

You're forgetting the enforced warranties here in the UK, our transatlantic cousins don't get those. We pay for those in that final 14% somewhere.

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Boffin

restocking fees

An acquaintance of mine was the manager of a Vancouver outlet for a major electronics retailer. Two of his biggest complaints were "buyers' remorse" whereby the customer bought an expensive item, took it home and either his wife forced him to return it, "you spent how much on that?" or he realized that he had indeed spent too much on the item. The second was purchases of GPS units on Friday, followed by their return on Monday. Restocking fees, which the Owner refused to contemplate, would have gone a long way to eliminate these behaviours.

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ebuyer UK charged me a 30% re-stocking fee

This was quite a while ago but was definitely in the UK.

It annoyed me so much it was the last item i ever bought from them, so i don't know if they still do it.

(raspberry at ebuyer - i've spent 100s of millions of pounds in online electronic goods since then and you missed it all!!! )

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I WILL NOT PUT A TITLE HERE DAMN YOU..!!!!

the UK Distance Selling Act allows for a restocking fee... IIRC it's up to 30%

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Not at all

The only charge that can be made is the direct cost of recovery (in some circumstances)

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Silver badge

"Apple awash with money..."

Since when should the law be adjusted according to how much money you have?

I'll come around to your place and nick your car because you probably don't need it.

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good news ... for apple

i have lately done most of my purchasing of apple products at best buy for this very reason, and because best buy generally has more liberally construed warranty coverage than apple. now i will consider making purchases from apple again.

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FAIL

@Charles Manning

Nobody suggested that the law should be different for Apple, they [b]can[/b] charge a restocking fee, but since they're awash with cash they are choosing not to do so. No change to the law required, a restocking fee is not compulsory even in the US!

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Big Brother

Caveat Emptor

UK Posting - Because Apple charge extortionately more for their products than in the US (including VAT and other costs) I simply won't buy or replace any of my Apple gear until they charge more realistic prices. And I'm a rabid Apple fanatic!

Rip-off Britain ... not for me!

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Thumb Up

Rabies seems to be hard on your brain, Rabid Apple Fan

Huge price differences on Apple gear you want are an opportunity. The bigger the better.

Example: iPad 64GB costs about £200 more in the UK than in the US. Don't boycott, arbitrage.

Go on ebay.com Buy a US iPad, new or once-opened, for approximately the US new price. Pay the exorbitant shipping, don't worry.

Register and use it for, say, 18 months. By now the new version is out and you want to sell it.

Sell it on ebay.co.uk. Even used, and out of date, it fetches about what you paid for it, including the shipping cost, thanks to the big price difference. With luck, you can actually break even.

If you have a lot of cash, repeat the above ten times, but without the 18 month delay. Profit.

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