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Old 20.01.2021, 10:42
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Returning items and refunds, Italy

Hi all,

Im unclear about the application of the law regarding online purchases and a business that has provided me goods which i returned recently.

In short I purchased a jacket which i returned promptly after it did not fit. It was the only size/item left and as such, under the terms of the business, i was allowed to return the item for a refund (terms were pretty clear).

Subsequently, they have now given me indications that they are unwilling/will not provide a full refund, but a refund less tax and charges (The item value is pretty significant, but probably not enough to cover legal fees). Also, they are delaying the refund (whether 90% or 100%). It has now been over 3 weeks since they were supposed to refund me, per their refund confirmation email to me (and over 2 months since i paid them).

I have written to the retailer pointing out their returns policy and terms and conditions state that these conditions (reduced refund, delayed payment) are not mentioned, on the contrary, a full refund is stated if conditions are met (which i met).

As the retailer is In Italy and I am here, are there any thoughts on actions i can take and applicable law? Would it be Italian consumer law or swiss? In italy there is a pretty reasonable and fair consumer code that business must adhere to. Is this applicable?

Thanks ,
James
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Old 20.01.2021, 10:58
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

Did you pay with a credit card?
If yes and you are ready to potentially burn the bridges with this specific merchant - you can try to make a chargeback, arguing to your bank that the merchant is failing to reimburse you within the conditions mentioned on their website. This might be easier than going through other channels (but if you want, start with https://www.mise.gov.it/index.php/it...ttadino/tutela ).

Other times it is just sufficient to let them understand that you will insist (they hope that after a while you'll just let it go). For example - if they have a phone number, give them 2 calls a day every day to ask where your money is
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Old 20.01.2021, 13:28
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

Great advice Rezak, many thanks.
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Old 20.01.2021, 13:31
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

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they have now given me indications that they are unwilling/will not provide a full refund, but a refund less tax and charges
Full refund relates to the price of the item.

Why would they refund tax and charges that they never received?

Alas, that's what happens when you buy from other countries.

Tom
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Old 20.01.2021, 14:25
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

tax and charges have 0 to do with them- they will quite normally refund the price of the jacket, and you will have to pay taxes and return. Unless otherwise stated in sales contract.

Even in Switzerland, most returns, never mind taxes- are at the buyer's cost.

Last edited by JackieH; 20.01.2021 at 18:03.
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Old 20.01.2021, 14:51
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

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Subsequently, they have now given me indications that they are unwilling/will not provide a full refund, but a refund less tax and charges (The item value is pretty significant, but probably not enough to cover legal fees). Also, they are delaying the refund (whether 90% or 100%). It has now been over 3 weeks since they were supposed to refund me, per their refund confirmation email to me (and over 2 months since i paid them).
Which taxes and charges are they refusing to reimburse? Import ones? Sending?

Give us more please.
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Old 21.01.2021, 10:32
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

Thanks Jacki, Kri

They had stated the refund will not reimburse taxes and charges (which I paid) so the order was:
- 1800 eu
plus VAT and customs
187
= paid for order 1987.

Now they are telling me they are refunding only the 1800, to which i asked why, and their response was they dont refund the customs as these are services on the shipment. This of course does not explain the tax, which they have not given me any clarity on or told me why they are refusing to pay this.

@Tom, yes understand this is a problem re overseas ordering, but funnily enough ive ordered with their brother company that was fine with returns. This was also why i was pointing out the Italian law, as i ordered the product in Italy and there it seems to be clear regarding consumer rights and refunds.

Thanks
James
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Old 21.01.2021, 11:37
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

Unfortunately some online sellers do not refund the import duties and fees (Shopbop for example, a subsidiary of Amazon still does not refund). You will need to look up their return policy and if it is stated there, you do not stand much chance I am afraid.

There is a way to recoup most of the import duty you have paid from the Swiss customs though. They will charge about 35 CHF in admin fees but you will get the rest if you provide the necessary documents within 60 days of the return.
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Old 21.01.2021, 11:58
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

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There is a way to recoup most of the import duty you have paid from the Swiss customs though. They will charge about 35 CHF in admin fees but you will get the rest if you provide the necessary documents within 60 days of the return.
Exactly, VAT and charges are paid to the Swiss, and you need to recoup from them, not the Italian seller, as they don't have the money, the Swiss do.

Tom
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Old 21.01.2021, 12:23
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

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Exactly, VAT and charges are paid to the Swiss, and you need to recoup from them, not the Italian seller, as they don't have the money, the Swiss do.

Tom
Yes this. I think they are correctly processing your refund. Whether now you wish to do the paper work to recoup the 140 CHF odd of Swiss VAT is your decision.

Out of curiosity, did they charge Italian VAT?

K
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Old 21.01.2021, 12:41
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

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, as they don't have the money, the Swiss do.

Tom
I am not sure if this is always true. Some online retailers will refund the import fees if you pay them on a DDP basis so it must be possible for them to recoup the money from the customs. In the end, the seller is taking your money and paying the customs on your behalf and when the goods are returned there is a way to match the return to the shipment and it is technically possible to get the money back. For this, most retailers ask the customer to send 3-4 copies of a customs declaration form with the returned item.

For those who do not refund import fees, I think the problem is most likely related to the seller's process (or lack there of) to recoup the fees paid on the customer's behalf from the customs authorities. Purely online retailers know that they will sell better if everything is refunded in case of returns but others probably do not have the complicated customs refund process in place. If one is buying from the online shop of a brick and mortar designer brand, they are likely not that bothered improving their processes as it is just a side business to them. I have had a terrible experience with an Italian women's designer brand who were completely incompetent and could not refund me the price of the goods let alone the import fees. I got my money back but after months of calling.
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Old 21.01.2021, 13:43
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

just a note:
you can ask VAT refund from Swiss authorities, but they will deduct an amount for admin expenses or something. Of course you need documents that you exported things back.
returns, repairs,....
I learned it hard way, when a German on-line shop executed an exchange for one size bigger jacket as a new order and I have to pay all the import expenses once again.
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Old 21.01.2021, 17:12
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Re: Returning items and refunds, Italy

For designer items I like to use Net-A-Porter (Mr Porter for men). Net-A-Porter does refund all import fees for Switzerland and it's specifically written in their terms but many other companies don't. So it's best to check those beforehand. I learned the hard way too, I think many of us did. 😆


If it were me my main focus in this case would be first on getting the €1800 payment back. So indeed a charge back with your credit card or if you payed with PayPal then you can file a claim there. You clearly have a right to a refund for the coat.


Brits are now experiencing what it's like to shop online while being outside of the EU and they're shocked:
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-55734277
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