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12 March 2020

What is the right to return something and how does it work?

What is the right to return something and how does it work?

Browsing around the web through the various eCommerce websites can lead to compulsive buying, and then to a feeling of regret. In some cases, the purchased item is not as imagined and does not meet your expectations. It depends on different reasons: wrong measurements, too small sizes or colours different than the ones shown in the picture.
In all these cases, in order to protect the buyer the right to return goods is granted: in the eCommerce context, the return of a good purchased online means giving back that good if you are not satisfied with it. To be specific, it would be more correct to speak of the right to return something since it concerns the withdrawal from a sales contract stipulated with the seller.

How does the eCommerce return work?

First of all, we should mention that the return is a real right under the Italian law and regulated by articles 52 and following the Italian Consumer Code.
According to the legislation, the consumer can exercise this right within 14 days from the delivery date of the product. Within these terms, the consumer is not forced to give any justification.
Furthermore, the possibility of returning the product can be extended beyond the number of days established by law at discretion of the seller.

Is the right to return goods guaranteed for all products?

No, there are some products that are excluded from the legislation. Article 59 of the Italian Consumer Code lists some goods for which return is not provided by law.

These goods can be divided into three categories:

• customized and personalized goods
• perishable goods or goods with short-time expiration date
• goods that cannot be returned if opened after delivery for hygienic and health reasons

It must be said that there is no official definition of perishable goods. In this case the expiration date is generally taken as a reference; if the deadline is less than 14 days, i.e. the maximum number of days that are entitled by right to make the return, then the seller can exclude the right. This is because the good deteriorates quickly and could no longer be resold, causing unjust damage to the seller.
However, if the deadline is longer than 14 days, it must be recognized the right to return because the seller has the possibility to put the good back on sale once it has been returned back by the previous buyer.
For example, milk, fish and meat are generally considered perishable goods. On the contrary, chocolate, pasta and legumes are not.
If the good is classified into one of the categories that does not provide the application of the right to return, then the seller is obliged by law to communicate it within the General Conditions of Sale.
It is also good practice, in terms of transparency, to report the non-applicability of the right to return also within the product pages and in the order confirmation email.

What happens if the right to return goods is not guaranteed?

Failure or incomplete indication of the information relating the right to return a product are considered as unfair commercial practices; this implies a pecuniary administrative sanction, pursuant to art. 27, ninth paragraph, of the Italian Consumer Code, with penalties from € 5,000.00 to € 500,000.00.
The right of return can not be ignored and it is therefore essential to guarantee its full implementation in the simplest way possible for the customer.
An optimal management of the return logistics can also contribute to enforce the loyalty of the customer, who feels more free from constraints during the purchasing. For this reason, the handling of the returns is the last phase of the customer experience, which will therefore assess the quality of online shopping in its entirety.
The innovation of San Marino Mail Italia lies in the possibility of making it possible for the customer to choose the best return method based on their needs: storage in an drop-off point or the standard door-to-door pick-up.