I was fortunately born with the gift of the gab. While friends can barely manage a tutt or grumble over a cold coffee, I’m the first one up complaining to the barista and politely demanding a replacement – with a free muffin on the side for the inconvenience. Us Brits are generally incompetent at voicing our dissatisfaction, querying customer service or requesting a refund for a faulty product; often the need to ‘not make a scene’ far outweighs or need for our money back, which frequently leaves us out of pocket and grumbling all the way to next Tuesday. I was frequently embarrassed by my mother growing up, watching her campaign for something she believed in (be it reducing the hedge height on top of a roundabout or extending the pavement by the school gates.) She carried around petitions more often than she carried tissues in her handbag, which taught me to stand up for myself and pipe up when something is not quite right: if you pay money for a product and it doesn’t work how it should, then you’re entitled to a replacement or refund. Although as a nation we’re much more likely to put up with it than return it, you may be surprised to know it is possible to return unwanted or mismatched makeup.
The law states that consumers have basic statutory rights when it comes to making a purchase: the item or service must be fit for purpose, be of satisfactory quality and last a reasonable about of time. If you’re not happy with a product you’ve purchased, for whatever reason, as long as you can provide proof of purchase and an explanation, you may be entitled to an exchange or refund. There are four main examples of when you may be want to return a beauty product, all of which are more than justifiable in the eyes of the law.
1. You’ve been mis-sold a shade or texture of foundation (based on a sales assistant recommendation) that doesn’t work for your skin when you get home.
2. The product doesn’t work as you’d anticipated or provide the results you would expect; i.e. a mascara that clumps, a lipstick that’s drying or eyeshadows that are hard to get out of the pan.
3. The packaging breaks or becomes damaged within a few uses, leaving the product inside open to further damage (i.e. it’s not fit for purpose.)
4. You’ve had an adverse reaction or irritation to the formula, which has impacted on your confidence or ability to go about your daily life.
If you simply don’t like it, it was an unwanted gift or you’ve changed your mind once you’ve got home, you’re not legally entitled to anything other than a hug; however, it’s worth trying your luck as some brands will prefer to offer good customer service and provide a goodwill gesture in return for your ongoing custom. If you’re thinking about returning or exchanging a beauty product, here are some tips to consider to maximise the potential of a successful result…
Keep Your Receipt: Most retailers are more than happy to help – as long as you’ve kept your receipt. Sales assistants are even more suspicious than they used to be, so if you keep your proof of purchase until you’re 100% happy it will make the situation far easier to resolve.
Approach With A Smile: Don’t be a grumpy, rude twat about it – that won’t get you anywhere. Approach the sales assistant with a smile, be polite and explain your case rationally; nobody wants to deal with an unreasonable and overly demanding customer.
Know Your Rights: Often by standing your ground, knowing your rights and quoting “according to the Sale of Goods Act 1979” you’ll be taken more seriously. It may take time, you may need to speak to a more senior member of staff, but you may well get your refund.
Contact The Brand: If your trip to store has been fruitless and you’re still unhappy with the product in question, often writing to a brand’s HQ directly will bring you to the attention of those with the power to do something. Emailing, tweeting or contacting them via Facebook takes your complaint out of the store and into a public forum, meaning they’re far more likely to action a solution as quickly and painlessly as possible.
From my experience, premium and ‘counter’ brands are much happier to refund or exchange products as purchases are often based upon recommendations from their staff. If it doesn’t work for you in the way it was intended to, they may not have done their job correctly. However, your consumer rights still stand even if you’ve bought a £2.99 lipgloss from Superdrug – if it’s damaged or unfit for purpose then you’re still entitled to an exchange at least. The most important thing is to understand your rights, be polite and ask; if you don’t ask the question you’ll never know if you could have swapped that bright orange blusher for a much more wearable shade and saved yourself £17.00 in the process.
Would you ever consider returning or exchanging faulty or mismatched makeup?
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.
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