Skip to content Skip to footer

Why is this important? The information we provide differs between countries. To get information for your country, please select from the dropdown.

Can I return something I bought in the sales?

This information applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

You don't have the right to take something back to a shop just because you've changed your mind about wanting it when you get home. This applies whether you've bought it in a sale or at any other time. However, it's worth going back to the shop to ask if they'll take it back anyway. Many shops, especially the larger high-street retailers, have a 'returns policy', which means they'll allow you to return the item and get a refund, exchange, credit note or gift voucher to the same value instead. There is usually a time-limit for doing this.

Remember that shops aren't required by law to let you bring unwanted items back, and that even shops which will normally allow you to do this, might not let you do it for items bought in a sale.

The best way to make sure you can take something back that you don't want, is to come to an agreement with the sales assistant that you can do this before you buy it. If you have made an arrangement of this kind, the shop is obliged to honour it.

Of course, if there is something wrong with the item, you will have the right to take it back. Depending on the circumstances, you may have the right to a full refund, to get some of your money back, or to get a repair or replacement. You could also choose to accept a credit note or gift voucher, but you don't have to if you'd rather the problem was sorted out in another way.

You have these rights whether you buy something in a sale or at any other time. If the shop tells you otherwise, they are breaking the law, and you should complain to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

However, Some sales goods can be reduced because of slight defects so check things carefully before you buy them. If the fault was pointed out to you before the sale, for example on a sign, label, or by the shop assistant, the shop doesn't have to take the item back. This could be the case even if the fault wasn't pointed out to you, but it was so obvious that you should have noticed it anyway.

If the fault wasn't pointed out and wasn't obvious, you can insist on your rights!

To find out more about your rights when you go shopping, see Common problems with products.

Other Frequently asked questions about consumer affairs: