Buy something from a store in cash and the store must obey the Sale of Goods Act rules. But what happens if you’re one of the growing band of voucheristas who buy without cash?
In a nutshell your rights are identical. When you purchase goods or services you are entering into a contract between you and the supplier. They provide you with the product in return for a ‘consideration’. There is nothing that requires the consideration to be in cash – you just need to pay in something that is acceptable by the supplier.
Therefore if you offer ‘Tesco Rewards Vouchers’ (where you trade-in normal vouchers for Rewards worth up to 4x the amount, see Tesco Rewards Boosting guide) and the supplier agrees them (which is of course due to its own contract with Tesco to do so knowing it’ll get some remuneration from Tesco), that forms your consideration.
And if the voucher simply gives you a price reduction, then it’s even simpler. Your consideration is still in cash, just at a discounted amount.
What are you rights?
If you pay in vouchers, just like cash goods must still obey what I call the SAD FART rules.
That means any goods bought are faulty unless they are of…
Satisfactory quality, As Described, Fit for purpose, And last a Reasonable length of Time
(For a full explanation see the Sad Farts Consumer Rights guide).
This ONLY works for faulty goods
Many people often mistakenly believe they have a right to take goods back if they change their mind. That simply isn’t true, whether cash or vouchers, you only have a legal right to take things back if they’re faulty.
If not, it is totally up to the retailers’/providers’ discretion – it can simply choose not to do anything.
Some do have published returns policies, in which case they’re enforceable as part of your contract. Yet if the policy says ‘no returns on goods bought with vouchers’ then that’s it – them’s the rules.
Refunds should be identical to the consideration
If goods are faulty and you take them back straight away, then you have the right of a full refund (later you’re only entitled to replacement or repair).
This refund should put you back in the position you would have been in if things hadn’t gone wrong, so it’s likely you’ll get vouchers back (though obviously it could chose to offer you cash, and then you have a choice to take that or the vouchers).
Again just to emphasise, that is only if goods are faulty. If they’re not faulty, you’re at the mercy of the company’s returns policy. If it were to say, ‘if you pay in vouchers, any returns will be refunded in chewy cola bottles’ then that’s the rule. You then have a choice – keep the goods or get the cola bottles.
- My embarrassing consumer rights confession – time to admit it
- "I’ll discount it for the fault, but then you can’t return it for other faults"
- ‘This does not affect your statutory rights’ – what it really means
- Shop staff quoted nonsense rights at me – isn’t it time they were taught the law?