Occasions & Gifts - Left in a poor location

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You should know

There’s a wide variety of gifting products for various occasions available in the market.

  • You have a 30-day time period to return faulty gift items and receive a full refund subject to certain conditions
  • Even if the product is covered by a manufacturer's warranty, your contract is with the retailer rather than the manufacturer; it is, therefore, their responsibility to resolve your issue
  • If the seller made you aware of the possible defects, you cannot take any action against them

In case something goes wrong, online gifting websites are well equipped with providing a decent resolution. Through online forms, customer care email IDs and call center numbers, one can easily initiate a complaint against a particular issue. Online retailers offer the following types of policies in case something goes wrong:

  1. Cancellation Policy- If you place an order by mistake, or wish to make changes to your order- you have the option to cancel your order before it is confirmed and/ or shipped by the online vendor.
  2. Return Policy- For a reasonable explanation, an item can be returned to the vendor within a reasonable time frame provided that the original tags & packaging has been preserved and the item has not been used. Online shopping websites sometimes also offer a free courier service to pick up returns. Against such returns, vendors offer options of money back in the online account or the buyer’s bank account.
  3. Refund Policy- Online shopping websites generally offer full refunds. However, it is advised that you read the vendor’s refund policy before making a purchase to ascertain whether the full amount will be refunded to your bank account or not.
  4. Exchange Policy- The terms & conditions against an exchange policy of a gift are similar to that of a return policy. In this case, instead of a cashback, the user gets another model/ size of a similar product.

Always make sure that you are aware of an online company’s cancellation, return, exchange and refund policies in order to avoid any inconvenience. Companies also offer self-shipping in some cases. Some items cannot be returned or exchanged. The option of return or exchange is also limited to certain days beyond which, no such action can be initiated.

Generally, it is the responsibility of the seller and the product manufacturer to ensure that the gifting item does not cause any harm to the user- in case it happens, they are bound to provide compensation. As a precautionary measure, you should always check the quality of a product thoroughly before making the purchase. It is also recommended to read product reviews on credible websites to avoid any trouble. You should also check the return, refund and exchange policy of a seller before making the purchase.

To submit a grievance against an online gift shopping company in India, you should follow the given steps:

  1. Gather your paperwork related to the purchase of the product and contact the seller from whom you made the purchase, whether online or offline. Most sellers have a complaint resolution mechanism in place. You must check the refund, return and exchange policy of the seller before placing an order. The customer care department of the seller should be able to provide help.
  2. If the seller refuses to help you or does not provide a satisfactory resolution, approach the customer care head of the business and register an official complaint. You can also escalate the matter by approaching the corporate office of the online gift seller.
  3. If the business fails to provide a solution, or if you're not happy with the result, you can serve a month’s legal notice to the gifting company to allow them some time to resolve your issue- failing which, you may take legal action.
  4. As a last resort, you can take legal action against the business by filing a consumer case at an appropriate consumer forum and follow the procedure as prescribed under the law. Generally, it takes a minimum of 2 to 3 years to resolve a consumer case.

What if the gift isn’t delivered on the occasion?

Online gifting companies make sure that your gift gets delivered on time i.e. on the special occasion. In case they fail to do so, you should seek a refund. Since delivering on time is an important aspect of gift delivery business, there policy must reflect the terms and conditions under which you’ll receive a refund.

If the delay has been caused by something beyond their control, you may not be entitled to a refund.

What if I no longer want the item?

If you have decided that you no longer want the gift, you can cancel your order or can submit a ticket for a refund. In any case, you are not automatically entitled to a refund. The retailer may offer you a credit note so that you can purchase other goods, but they are not obliged to do this.

How long is the guarantee?

Your retailer will have a time-limited guarantee on the product, but even if it is outside of that time you may be able to claim. The law is ambiguous on what a guarantee is and what is deemed reasonable. Six months can be expected as a reasonable minimum, but you need to take into account a reasonable lifespan for the product, how much was paid for it and its overall quality.

Manufacturer warranty

If the retailer says the product is outside of its guarantee but there is a manufacturer warranty, it might ask you to contact the manufacturer directly. However, your contract is with the retailer and not the manufacturer: it is, therefore, the retailer's responsibility to resolve and rectify the issue.

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