Whether you’re here on holidays for a week or resident here it’s always good to know your rights as a consumer when shopping, especially if you discover the item you bought is not what you expected or worse, is faulty. If that is the case you are entitled to a replacement, refund or repair at no additional cost, it all depends on the shop’s policy.
Ideally before you part with your money you should ask what their policy for returns is. If it´s in the form of a sign on the wall and your mobile has a camera, take a picture thought simply being made aware of them is enough.
European law has made some minimum requirements though you may find shops offer more flexibility to attract business, especially at Christmas or during sales for example. You must always have a receipt however, make sure it has the correct name and address printed of where you are shopping along with the date.
Almost anything you buy has a minimum 7 days to ensure it is as advertised and without fault. If during the 7 days you find a problem or defect you are entitled to a replacement. If you bought the last one then the shop must send the item away for repair. The exception to this rule is underwear, hygiene products and items you can copy such as CDs. Additionally if you buy an item of clothing with tickets they must remain attached. Clothing that appears to have been warn or washed cannot be returned.
Electrical items and furniture have a 2 year guarantee. If within 7 days there´s a problem you can ask for a replacement or refund. After that and up to 6 months you can take any faulty electrical item back to the shop and they have to repair it. They do not have to ask you to prove it was sold to you faulty. The exception to this rule is when software has been affected by a virus. After 6 months and up to two years if the shop believes you have broken the item and it´s not a fault from the factory they may ask you to prove you didn’t break it. This would be if you took something back smashed or cracked for example as opposed to an internal part no longer works.
If an electrical is sent away to be repaired, when returned it has a minimum 6 months guarantee. So if you bought a camera and after 23 months it is sent away under guarantee to be repaired and you get it back a month later, although the original guarantee is finished because it has been repaired you still have 6 months guarantee remaining.
Those are the minimum requirements by European law. If a shop refuses you these rights then you need to ask them for an “hoja de reclamaciones” and make a formal complaint with the consumer office.
Shops may offer more than the minimum requirements. Many allow you 10 or 14 days to try an item and some let you return something and refund you simply because you don’t like it; they don’t insist it has to be faulty.