170 online retailers in breach of consumer law over returns policies

Nearly 200 online retailers offering payment via “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) schemes have been found to be in breach of UK consumer law.

Which? has found 170 retailers, promoted by the UK’s largest BNPL companies, with potentially illegal returns policies if shoppers choose to use the delayed-payment options.

Klarna, Laybuy and Clearpay all use their websites and apps to promote smaller independent retailers which allow users to pay in installments via their services.

However, according to Which?, many of these promoted retailers either don’t offer returns at all or charge customers fees for making returns,

One shopper told the consumer watchdog that she found retailer Crazy Shred through Laybuy’s app.

READ MORE: UK shoppers nearly twice as likely to use ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes than buy second hand

Despite being promoted by Laybuy, Crazy Shred’s terms and conditions state that any orders cancelled after 48 hours would incur a £25 administration fee.

“It surprises me that Laybuy doesn’t carry out all the relevant checks,” the customer told Which?

“I would never have found this company if they weren’t on the Laybuy seller page.”

Another 15 retailers were found to charge fees for making returns, while 17 retailers promoted by the BNPL brands did not offer refunds at all.

A further 95 stores didn’t offer refunds on sale items, 74 do not allow shoppers the required minimum time to return orders and 36 more did not adhere to UK laws regarding faulty goods.

For all items that aren’t perishable or tailor made, consumers have a minimum of 14 days to notify the retailer they wish to return an item, and a further 14 days to actually send the items back.

This should also cover items bought at sale price, and customers should not be charged an administration fee or be charged for the original shipping costs.

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