About this blog

Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Monday 28 August 2017

Bank Holiday In Wilko

You may have been to the beach today. I have been to Wilko. No sand but still enjoyable. I  wanted to return three solar lights which I had bought for the garden about one month ago for £2.99 each but have since been reduced to £1.85. Two were defective. As one alone would have looked stupid (more stupid than me in my red shorts and green trainers), I wanted to rid myself of all three. No problem. Ten out of ten to Wilko for acknowledging in less time than it takes for a flea to bite your bottom that the three could go back.

But how much would be refunded. £2.99 or £1.85 per light? £1.85 offered. 
"I paid £2.99."
"I'll get the supervisor."

"Yes, they were £2.99. Do you have the receipt?"
"I'm afraid not. I didn't expect I would need it."
"I'm afraid that without the receipt the store policy is that we can only refund the £1.85."
"Can I make a complaint?
"Certainly you can. On line."
"Don't you have a discretion to save the hassle of doing that?"
"Regrettably, I don't have a discretion. You would have to see the manager. He is busy."
"I'll see the manager."

Ten out of ten to the supervisor for courtesy and sticking to store policy despite the fact that with other supervisors at Wilko he is due to be made redundant. If you have a vacancy in your operation then I do commend him to you.

The manager appears within two minutes without any crumbs or the remnants of a cheese and pickle sandwich on his shirt. As courteous as the supervisor. Recites store policy.
" I knew the higher price so that shows it was the displayed price when I was in and that I paid it."
"Don't you have a credit card statement?"
"I have three cards and not sure which one I used, if any. And I might have paid cash. Can't you use your discretion?"
"On this occasion, I will use my discretion and give you the benefit of the doubt. However, if this situation recurs and you do not have a receipt, I would not be prepared to exercise my discretion again."

Eight out of ten to the manager (which is a pretty high score and the best I have given to a store manager in this situation). However, he loses two points because
  • he implied there was doubt that I had paid the higher price and
  • he prejudged what would happen if his discretion was sought after a future transaction and without regard to the fact that the law does not make it a pre-requisite of an entitlement to a refund or compensation that a receipt is produced.

I have visited the inability to produce a receipt before and deal with this and a myriad of other consumer conundrums in my book Breaking Law. It is only fair and reasonable that  with defective goods being returned, you should be able to demonstrate that you bought them from the shop to which you are returning them and at the price you are claiming you paid. It could be by production of the receipt of a credit card statement or, if neither  is available or of assistance, by a bank statement showing a cash withdrawal out of which you maintain you made the purchase. But suppose you used cash and a bank statement takes matters no further? Then your word can be enough. If the matter went to the county court on the sole issue as to where you bought from and at what price and the judge was satisfied it was more probable than not that you were telling the truth then you would win.

I like Wilko. Perhaps they will stock Breaking Law?