Distance Selling - what if they don’t collect the item?

I purchased some things from Dunelm online. They weren’t available in store so distance selling rules applied. I even checked with them before I purchased as I was concerned about returning them if they weren’t right as they were items too big for me to fit in the car to take back myself and I was assured that they would arrange collection of the items.

So I received the items but needed to send 2 of them back. I arranged collection a few days after receiving them. Waited in all day. Received a text from DHL confirming my delivery slot. Slot time came and went. On live chat to Dunelm several times, each time being reassured that they would collect and to just wait. They never arrived. Dunelm will offer collection on another day but as I can’t take another day off work, it would be at least another week before I can arrange another collection. In the meantime, they say they won’t refund if I don’t return it and have said under distance selling, I have 14 days to return the item. How does this work when my only option is to rely on them to collect it and they fail to do so?


  • Alderbank
    Alderbank Posts: 2,696
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    You say you needed to send two of them back.

    Is that because they were faulty or because you changed your mind?
  • Golden_Glow90
    Golden_Glow90 Posts: 203
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    I changed my mind. I spoke to them before ordering to check this would be okay as they were items that they didn’t stock in store so I wouldn’t be able to see them properly before purchasing. They told me distance selling rules would apply so I’d be able to cancel them within 14 days of receiving them so I put in the order. The issue is that as they are bulky items, dunelm only offer returns through their collection service but they failed to turn up for the arranged collection. All they are offering me is an alternative date but the next available date is over a week away and no guarantee that they will even turn up again. 
  • SiliconChip
    SiliconChip Posts: 1,279
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    I would say that they can't hold you to the 14 days if the collection they have arranged fails to happen within that time. I'd wait to see whether the collection does happen on the next available date, and if it doesn't make a formal complaint.
    Other more knowledgeable members may be able to say whether failure to collect is a viable reason for requesting a chargeback from your card issuer (I'm assuming you did pay by card).
  • ArbitraryRandom
    ArbitraryRandom Posts: 2,338
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    They told me distance selling rules would apply so I’d be able to cancel them within 14 days of receiving them so I put in the order. 
    Technically, you have 14 days to cancel, then 14 days to return - not sure if that helps at all (I assume you cancelled fairly quickly after delivery, so worst case if they're being pedantic, you could try re-cancelling on the 14th day to restart the clock)?

    But I agree it's worth arguing that their carrier didn't collect on the agreed date (when you and the parcel were both available), so the 14 days should reasonably now be somewhat moot... 
    I'm not an early bird or a night owl; I’m some form of permanently exhausted pigeon.
  • sheramber
    sheramber Posts: 18,637
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    distance selling, I have 14 days to return the item

    Did Dunhelm say this about your order or is it a general statement?
  • Okell
    Okell Posts: 612
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    edited 20 January at 12:43PM
    @Golden_Glow90 -  Look at regulations 35(1)(a) and 34(4) and (6) of The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (legislation.gov.uk)

    Essentially, so long as first, you have cancelled the relevant part of the contract in accordance with reg 32(3), and second, the trader has agreed to collect the goods, the trader must pay the refund within 14 days of you notifying the trader that you are cancelling the relevant part of the contract.

    So long as the trader has agreed to collect the goods, you can't be prejudiced if the trader fails to do so.

    (As an aside and as others have noted, the regulations actually say that consumers have 14 days to cancel a contract, and a further 14 days from that date to return the goods.)

    The only two possible problems I can foresee are first, that you haven't formally cancelled the contract under the regulations and Dunelm are therefore treating it as a return under their own extra-statutory returns policy.  If so you need to cancel the relevant part of the contract as per regulation 32(3) - assuming you are still within 14 days.

    Second, Dunelm might argue that the cancelletion provisions only apply to a whole contract and not part of a contract.  I'm sure this has been discussed here before, but I can't remember the outcome.

    In either case, the argument I'd first put to Dunelm is that so long as they've agreed to collect the goods then they can't wait until after collection to pay your refund.  They should pay up within 14 days of you telling them you're returning them.

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