For the product I purchased, the combined cost of the item and delivery was very competitive. There were many e-mails keeping me informed of the order progress and a courier tracking number was provided. The item was delivered within the previously notified hour time slot the day after it was ordered. So far, very good. But...
Unfortunately, the packaging did not adequately protect the item which, as a result, was found to be broken when opened. However, Tooled-Up were very helpful and efficient in collecting the damaged item and ultimately providing a replacement which was delivered 6 days after the original order was placed. Again, communication, both by e-mail and telephone was abundant and useful throughout. Sadly, no attempt had been made to improve on the original packaging, so it was left to chance that the replacement would not suffer the same fate. On this occasion, they, and I, were lucky.
So...... the appalling bit. You would think that a company set up to trade over the Internet would ensure their terms and conditions are in accordance with the minimum requirements of the Distance Selling Regulations (DSRs).
According to Tooled-Up.com, "Unwanted Items: Items ordered but not required may be returned providing that you do so within 7 days of receipt in an unopened and unused condition. Opening a product will constitute use of the item and a return will be refused.....". This statement is in breach of the DSRs, which allow the customer to open and examine the goods. That is the point of the DSRs' existence. In some cases, operating an item is also allowed if necessary to determine suitability. It is not required to return unwanted items in their original packaging either - though it is usually wise to do so if possible, simply to best protect the item while in transit. Damaged or missing packaging can not be used as a reason by the vendor to refuse the return of an unwanted item.
According to Tooled-Up.com, "Delivery charges: Please note that delivery charges are non refundable in the event of an unwanted item being returned....". Again, a blatant breach of the DSRs. The customer should expect the cost of the item AND any delivery charges paid to be refunded in full for returned unwanted items. However, the customer is liable for the cost of returning the item, if, and only if, this was made clear by the vendor prior to the order being placed.
Furthermore, according to Tooled-Up.com, "Delivery charges:.......Where an order is placed under special delivery arrangements any delivery charge is non refundable in the event of a return for any reason". Wrong again! If an item is delivered damaged, or otherwise faulty, Tooled-Up.com are liable for all costs.
All these quotes are taken from the reverse side of the form supplied by Tooled-Up.com with the item. They are simply appalling. I am considering reporting the matter to their local Trading Standards.
I hope this rather over long review will help Tooled-Up.com customers stand up for their legal rights in the event they want to return any item. Remember that any company's terms and conditions can not reduce those legal rights.
Following Tooled-Up.com's 12 February 2013 response to my review above, I checked their website for their current terms and conditions in relation to returning unwanted items. I can only assume that the responder did not do likewise.
All the following quotes were copied from the "Can I return an unwanted item?" section of the Tooled-up.com website on 13 February 2013. I have commented on each quote.
Tooled-up.com quote: "The item is in an 'as new condition'. It must be returned to us in it's original condition unused and in it's original packaging which should not be marked or damaged (e.g. if you have opened the box to examine the product you must have done so carefully)." This is misleading and wrong. The consumer must take reasonable care of the item while examining it and determining suitability. If it does become marked, it can still be returned under the terms of the DSRs and a full refund must be given. If the retailer considers the damage to be unreasonable, they can take subsequent action to recover compensation. The retailer can not withhold the full refund though. It is also stated in the DSRs that a full refund must be given within 30 days of the customer notification of intent to return the goods, even if the goods have not yet been received by the retailer. The DSRs also state that a full refund can not be withheld if the original packaging is returned in a damaged state or not returned at all.
Tooled-up.com quote: ".... and return them within 30 days." As stated above, the DSRs state that a full refund MUST be given within 30 days of the customer notification of intent to return the goods. This is not conditional on whether or not the retailer has actually received the returned goods or the condition of the goods if received.
Tooled-up.com quote: "Items not returned to us in an 'as new condition' will be subject to us claiming costs in relation to making these products re-saleable." The DSRs do not state that returned items must be 'as new condition'. The retailer can only claim costs if the returned item has been unreasonably treated by the customer. It is up to the retailer to prove this. It is also worth noting that all, or part of, the full refund can not be withheld by the retailer because they believe thay have a valid claim. The customer is not liable for costs relating to making returned items re-saleable.
Tooled-up.com quote: "...... Failure to complete this form may lead to a delay with the processing of your return." ....but can not be used by the retailer as a reason to delay payment of a full refund beyond 30 days from the notification of intent to return the item.
Tooled-up.com quote: "All goods returned to us as unwanted will be examined upon return and any refunds / exchange will only be applied once final agreement has been made to accept the product(s) back in accordance with our terms & conditions." Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Wrong again!!!! Tooled-up.com have a statutory duty to give a full refund within 30 days of receiving a notification of intent to return the item from the customer. Such a refund can not be fully, or partially, withheld for ANY REASON. If Tooled-up.com consider they have a valid claim against the customer for, as an example, unreasonable damage to the returned item, they must persue this as a separate action.
As I stated at the very beginning of this review, the service I received from Tooled-Up.com was very good. But they really must bring their terms and conditions into line with statutory requirements. The fact that their initial response to my review was to blame incorrect wording on an out of date document they had used, when in fact many of the errors are currently present on their website, is inexcusable.
Robert Andrews found this review useful
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