Consumer Contracts Regulations – wigs, hygiene and returns

I am based in the UK and sell wigs and hair pieces online. I want to ensure my company policy is in line with consumer rights. 

My policy currently says that a wig/hair piece can be returned if it has not been tried on. As wigs can be a very personal matter and need to be right for the customer in colour, style and size I get a lot of returns and I either offer refund or exchange. Also, some customers will order a few wigs (for example), pick the one they like then return the rest.

Another UK wig seller does not accept returns on the basis that once the package is opened this could result in ‘skin to skin’ cross infection. So they won’t accept a return if the wig hasn’t been even been tried on.

Most of the wigs I supply are manufactured in bulk. I purchase from suppliers in the U.S and Germany (mainly the U.S) which means I am not likely return items to them due to postage costs. Another UK wig seller says in their policy that they will not accept returns for items that have been ordered in from abroad, but most wig products are. Is this allowed?  

Some wigs I sell are customised/special orders and I realise that these items can be non-refundable under the regulations.  

I would really appreciate some guidance on this. 

2.61K viewsconsumer law

Alasdair Taylor's Answer

Regulation 28(3) sets out the hygiene exception:

“The rights conferred by this Part cease to be available in the following circumstances ? (a) in the case of a contract for the supply of sealed goods which are not suitable for return due to health protection or hygiene reasons, if they become unsealed after delivery; … 

So, assuming that the goods are not suitable for return due to hygiene reasons, it is the unsealing of the goods which trips the exception.

I don’t know enough about wigs to comment on the strength of a hygiene / health argument. In any case, the legislation is rather vague so there may be room for dispute on this point.

I don’t think the source of the product makes any difference to consumers rights (other than in the case of customised products).

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