Does wine refund need a receipt?

02 April, 2010

Q Am I within my rights as a retailer to request a receipt from a customer demanding a refund or replacement on a bottle of corked wine? And how many years after buying that wine can the customer make this demand??A Firstly, let’s deal with the receipt issue. Retailers are not obliged to issue receipts at all, so, equally, the customer does not have to produce one to claim a replacement or refund for a defective product. However, it is deemed reasonable for you to ask for proof of purchase, which could be a bank statement or cheque stub. In reality most wine retailers are unlikely to make a big deal of this, and will trust the customer.

The Sale of Goods Act insists that products must “conform to contract” and be fit for purpose. The seller, not the manufacturer, is responsible for ensuring this is the case. The customer can demand their money back for up to five years after purchase, if what they have bought is faulty.

But, of course, wine is perishable and in many cases will not last for six years after purchase – it would be a little unreasonable to present a retailer with a £5 Chardonnay bought in 2001 and complain that it has oxidised or

ost its flavour.

Deciding how long a wine should?reasonably last for is clearly an imprecise science and, of course, even a freshly bottled wine can be affected by cork taint or some other problem which spoils the customer’s enjoyment.

Most retailers simply accept customer demands for replacement wines or refunds, even in borderline cases, in the interests of maintaining good customer relations.

Q How can I get my sales moving on Mondays??ASome retailers don’t bother opening at all on Mondays, which may seem defeatist but it provides for a much-needed day off, or simply time to concentrate on back-office stuff or trade tastings. If that doesn’t appeal, why not follow the example of the Worcester Wine Company, which gives a 10% discount on all stock bought from the shop on Mondays.

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