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Hi purchased some Christmas presents from Auchan at the beginning of December due to a promotion (30% cashback to be spent at the shop). The parcel got lost from the 3rd party courier. After over a month Auchan accepted the parcel as lost and issued a partial refund (original price minus cashback) because I have already spent the cashback money.

I am arguing that they should issue a full refund, since the courier is insured and will refund the shop the total amount I paid. I would understand their reasoning if I had cancelled the order but here it's not my fault.

NOTE: In response to some of the comments and answers, let's put it like this: the shop gives me a 'gift' (for example another product) if I make a purchase. I receive the gift but not the purchased item. The shop then refunds me the cost of the purchased item minus the gift.

For me the situation is equivalent. The voucher (cashback, bonus, call it how you may) is a plus. Since I didn't cancel my order I should keep it.

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    You need to explain clearly what the arrangement was. You say in a comment " ... Cashback may not be the best term to use. The shop didn't give me money bak when I purchased. They put it on the shops fidelity card and can only be used to shop at Auchan ." --> Even that is not 100% clear BUT it should be in your question and not (only at least) in a comment on an answer. Jan 17 at 7:48
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    "I have already spent the voucher money." What did you spend it on? Did you activate the voucher so you have $30 credits? Or did you buy something else and used the voucher? Jan 17 at 8:14
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    I want to point out that it is very unlikely that the insurance will refund them the full amount. Usually parcels are insured by weight. So they get like 2 euros per kg of lost package. Most of the time, this is far less than the value of the actual item. This is of course totally irrelevant to the answer of the question. You do not have an agreement with the courier. Only with the shop. I somewhat think the only answer you've got so far is incorrect, but... I'm hesitant of writing my own, because I think your description is too vague and you use the wrong terms which make it confusing.
    – Opifex
    Jan 17 at 10:07
  • The latest edit invalidated answers and thus is violating stack policy.
    – Trish
    Jan 17 at 17:23
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    If you want your full €100 back, then return whatever it was that you bought with the credit voucher.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 17 at 18:08

2 Answers 2

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DISCLAIMER: Between edits and comments, the original question has morphed from being about cash-back, to cash-equivalent store credit, to voucher for a percentage off the next purchase, to an actual "gift". These are all distinctly different things! And as of this writing the "question" doesn't actually ask a question. ("I am arguing that...")

Also, taking an order, "unilaterally cancelling it" and then offering only a partial refund is completely different than taking an order in good faith, having a third party fail to deliver and offering a refund for the portion that didn't deliver when the consumer refuses to return the other part of the order.

There is no answerable legal question in the current iteration, and not enough information given to determine whether the merchant's actions rose to the level of illegal false advertising. I am tempted to delete my answer, but in the interest of posterity, for educational purposes, and at risk of being deemed TLDR, I will leave as-is for now...

This is less a legal question than a math problem, marketing tactic, and business accounting practice to understand. Consider the following examples:

EXAMPLE #1: (mirrors the situation described in the original question)

  • An item is advertised for sale at a price of $100, which includes $30 "store credit" (voucher, gift card, etc.)
  • You spend $100 and the item is placed on order, plus you receive a $30 credit.
  • Your net, or actual out of pocket cost, for the item is $70.
  • You can hold on to the credit until it expires, or use it to purchase something. In any case, you are in possession of $30 of "value".

If the item fails to deliver, you are only owed the net value of what you spent for the item, i.e. $70. You are not owed a refund of the $30 because there is nothing to refund - you still have a $30 credit, or whatever thing of value you traded it for. The credit was not lost in the parcel with the other item, if the company pays you $70 for the lost item you will have been made whole again.

If they paid you an additional $30 you would be unjustly enriched beyond what you originally paid because you still have either a $30 credit, or the thing of value you traded it for. That was a separate and new transaction. If you would like a refund of that item you would need to return it and negotiate this separately from any reimbursement for the value of the package that was lost.

Cash back, store credits, gift cards, vouchers, etc. are all just silly marketing tricks. To drive that point home let's consider the same example, but with a slight twist:

EXAMPLE #2:

  • An item is advertised for sale at a price of $100, except... this time it has a special sale tag marking of 30% off.
  • The discount is applied, you spend $70, and the item is placed on order.
  • Your net, or actual out of pocket cost, for the item is $70.

If the item was lost it is reasonable to expect the merchant to refund you the sale price you actually paid, ($70) not the regular price, ($100).

The only practical difference in these examples is that in the second one you kept the $30 in your pocket instead of handing it to them, only to have them hand you a gift card right back. Whatever insurance the company has with the courier is irrelevant to your purchase agreement with them. They are not obligated, and you have no leverage to demand any portion in excess of what you paid for the item.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, let's consider one more that more closely mirrors the first example: (except it's a return vs loss, just to add some interest and show that the cause of the refund is irrelevant)

EXAMPLE #3:

  • An item is advertised for sale at a price of $70.
  • You go to the register to pay for it, and decide to also grab a $30 gift card.
  • Later you decide to return the item, but want to keep the gift card.

You paid a total of $100, but the company would only refund you $70 for the item you returned. Since you still have the gift card you are not due a refund for it. It always works this way if you return a single item that was purchased along with other things not being returned.

When you buy something for $100 and receive the thing plus $30, (cash, credit, whatever...) you execute a transaction functionally equivalent to examples 2 & 3.

Again, it's all a marketing ploy because surveys show that people will buy more when something extra is advertised as being included for "free". But it isn't free; nothing is. The business has already placed a value of $70 on the item, inflated the price to $100, and included a "free" $30 credit that you paid an extra... $30 for.

In terms of accounting it is all just gross revenue.

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  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Law Meta, or in Law Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Dale M
    Jan 18 at 9:52
  • Just to clarify, I didn't refuse anything. The parcel got lost and the shop said the item is sold out so they are going to refund it partially
    – algiogia
    Jan 19 at 7:15
  • Also, the question is still the same. The note is just to describe how I see the transaction. For me the 30% cashback is equivalent to a gift. Since I didn't cancel the transaction I should be able to keep it
    – algiogia
    Jan 19 at 7:18
  • Whether or not something is actually equivalent to a gift depends entirely on how it was advertised, as well as the terms and conditions of the sales transaction. An individual consumer's personal perception is irrelevant. Again, these are known marketing tactics. Jan 19 at 14:59
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I don't follow your argument. It is irrelevant what the shop receives. You have already received some benefit and the shop is refunding you the rest. So, you are not out of pocket. As a customer you pay retail, so it irrelevant that the store credit does not cost the shop what they gave you. You received the full retail benefit of it.

Carrier insurance isn't always for the value of the item. The shop may not receive the full value of the item. They may not receive any money from the carrier, depending on what agreement they have with it. At best they will receive what it cost them. And they are returning you the retail price. Plus they are losing the profit on the sale. So they are already losing.

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  • Then what stops the shop from selling items + voucher, waiting for the customer to used the voucher (plus other money of course), then cancelling the original order and issuing partial refund? This way they have tricked the customer to do more shopping there and have lost nothing.
    – algiogia
    Jan 18 at 8:20
  • What you just described in that comment would likely be illegal. However, that's not what the original question asked. Jan 18 at 18:31
  • @MichaelHall who tells me that the shop actually shipped the missing items?
    – algiogia
    Jan 19 at 7:20
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    "What tells me that the shop actually shipped the missing items" is, most likely, irrelevant to you because they have already compensated your loss fully and most likely your contract does not provide you for any other kind of damages. At a practical level, Auchan's business is in selling things, and not selling things does not give profits. And if something like that was done, lots of employees would be in the known and just one disgruntled worker would be enough to spill the beans... So, common sense tells you that the items were actually shipped.
    – SJuan76
    Jan 19 at 9:02

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