Feeling some buyer’s remorse after shopping online? Perhaps the thing you bought isn’t what you had in mind or maybe you’re unhappy with the quality. Regardless of the reason, if you don’t like your new purchase, here are some of your options.

Online shopping fails: your options if you don’t like your product

1. Try to resolve the issue with the business directly. This should be your first step. Be clear about what the exact issue is and suggest a reasonable solution. Depending on the issue, the business may be happy to work with you to fix the problem. You may be interested in reading our blog posts about how to write an effective complaint letter and general tips for resolving complaints.

2. Be aware that retail stores are responsible for setting their own refund and exchange policies. This is why it’s so important to do your own research on each store’s policy before deciding to make a purchase. Some businesses stand behind the quality of their products, offer replacements, or issue refunds when consumers encounter certain issues. However, businesses that do not offer refunds or exchanges are not obligated to refund you simply because you changed your mind. Read up on the policy and find out what you agreed to when you bought the product.

3. Do some research to see if your issue is captured under any relevant laws. Sometimes the Sale of Goods Act may apply to quality issues. If so, your options for recourse would be through the courts. Additionally, the Competition Bureau enforces misleading advertising and labelling provisions that may apply to your situation.

4. Check out the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT can help you try to resolve small claims disputes under $5,000 and strata (condominium) disputes of any amount. We’ve written a blog post that explains what you can expect from the CRT.

5. If you want a legal opinion, consider trying the Lawyer Referral Service. You can get a consultation with a lawyer for up to 30 minutes for free.

To be clear, the options above are for situations where you’re unhappy with the product – not situations where the business sent you the wrong item.

Product quality issue vs. incorrect product

There’s a difference between being unhappy with a product/changing your mind and being sent the wrong product altogether. If you ordered a pair of pants and ended up with some socks, the business clearly made an error.  A quality issue, however, is difficult to define because people have different ideas of what they consider to be good quality.

If you were sent the wrong product. In these situations, you have a right to work with the business to ensure you either get a refund or get the correct product. Keep the items in their original condition and contact the business and ask that they fix the mistake. You may be asked to return the product, but you should not be asked to pay for the return shipping. Learn more about your options if you can’t reach a solution with the business.

Can’t find an option that fits your unique issue with your online order? Learn more about your rights in BC when it comes to online purchases.

Did you like this? You might like these posts too!

Online orders: who is responsible when you don’t get your package?
How to get a refund if your online order never arrives
6 tips to be a smarter online shopper
The scoop on refunds, returns, and exchanges
What is a “quality of service” issue and what can you do about it?

About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.