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I purchased two items from Amazon in the same order: A gadget powered by a 12v car power socket, and a mains-to-12v power adaptor that was purchased specifically to power that gadget from the mains. The gadget has a design defect so I'm going to return both these items.

Amazon will let me return the gadget free of charge. However, Amazon are going to charge me return postage for returning the power adaptor. This is because the power adaptor is "no longer required", not actually faulty itself.

Are Amazon allowed to charge for returning the power adaptor, given that the thing it was to power is faulty?

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You have a right to reject the item and receive a refund if a fault occurs within 30 days of delivery. The vendor has an obligation to repair or replace an item that develops a fault after this time.

A vendor has no obligation at all to accept the return of a product that is not faulty. Amazon chooses to do so under contract and subject to the conditions of that contract.

The gadget was faulty and you are entitled to (and are getting) a full refund. The charger is not faulty and so you must comply with the contract which requires you to pay shipping for the return (or keep it).

If the products were sold by Amazon as a complete unit or you had made known to Amazon that the charger was "for" the gadget, then you would be entitled to a refund for both. However, even though they were ordered together, Amazon does not know that one is "for" the other - this may be different if you had interacted with a human over the order.

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The law which covers returning items, faulty or otherwise, is the Consumer Contract Regulations and the Consumer Rights Act 2015, and neither of these specifically requires the seller to pay the return postage for items bought together but not returned under the same right (eg right to reject faulty goods) unless those items were purchased as part of a specific contract binding them together.

Under the law, these are separate items, and Amazon can charge return postage for the "unwanted" one, because thats what it is - unwanted. The fact that the reason it is now unwanted is because another item in the consignment was faulty has no specific standing under the laws above unfortunately.

  • "The Distance Selling Regulations no longer apply in UK law." – Putvi May 16 at 21:57
  • @Putvi thank you - they are broadly similar in effect and do not change the content of my answer however. – Moo May 16 at 22:00
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You have a legal right to return defective goods. This rise arises from the Consumer Rights Act which requires good to be of satisfactory quality.

What this means is that you have to physically return the good to Amazon, and demand a refund from them (which they are legally obliged to give you).

Of course, in practice, this either means you physically post it to them whilst at the same time contacting their customer service for a refund, or alternatively go to an Amazon office yourself, with the object, and demand a refund under the CRA.

As an alternative, Amazon offers you a different method to return the good, which is to return it free of charge, but then to charge you for the postage of the return (so its not actually free of charge.

Now, the Consumer Rights Act does not say that you have to do what Amazon is asking you to, but the other methods which you may invoke the act (the ones I listed initially), is more costly and time consuming. So logically, it is in your best interests to just give in and let Amazon charge you.

If you do intend to take the statutory route, please note that you have a time limit of 30 days (s22 of CRA 2015) to reject the good.

  • In the UK, if goods are of unsatisfactory quality, defective, unfit for purpose etc. the buyer has a right to reject the goods, and if this right is exercised, the seller must give the customer a full refund (s20 CRA 2015: "From the time when the right [to refund] is exercised— (a)the trader has a duty to give the consumer a refund, subject to subsection (18), and (b)the consumer has a duty to make the goods available for collection by the trader or (if there is an agreement for the consumer to return rejected goods) to return them as agreed.). – Shazamo Morebucks May 16 at 23:36
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It's their policy. They get to dictate it.

I know everyone on this site will complain about me saying that, but so be it.

I don't mean that as an insult to you, I just mean that Amazon is the only party in charge of that. I wish you the best, but how Amazon handles returns isn't up to anyone else.

  • My question was basically "is Amazon's return policy legal?". Because there are laws that cover return policies, Amazon can't put whatever it wants in there. – user9876 May 20 at 21:26
  • I mean of course they can't just illegal things in there, but within reason it's up to them. – Putvi May 20 at 21:27

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