Handmade earrings – are they exempt from refunds? They can be!!!

A big assumption is that all handmade earrings are exempt from refunds for hygiene reasons, this isn’t always the case.  It has more to do with how you sell them than the handmade earrings themselves!

Whether you refund a item (handmade earrings or otherwise) or not or not isn’t actually determined by you the maker and seller; it is determined by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (if you haven’t heard of this then see my quick guide here)

The part that applies for returns is called the ‘right to cancel’.  This legislation applies to everything sold online, let’s dig a bit deeper and see how it specifically applies to handmade earrings for pieced ears.

All consumers have the ‘right to cancel’ when they buy online.  They don’t need a reason.

They have up to 14 days after they receive the items to change their mind and then cancel and ask for a refund.
This often feels unfair to the seller BUT the right to cancel is because, in distance contracts (buying over the phone or online), there is no opportunity to examine goods before they are delivered.  These 14 days are affectionately called the ‘cooling off period’ – and it is a chance to check that the item you thought you were buying is actually what was represented. (You actually have to state all this in your T&Cs including a model cancellation form)

Not ALL products have these rights.  These are exemptions.

What are the exemptions? (I’ve marked the ones relevant to handmade earrings in bold)

· where the consumer meets you in person (for example, you arrange for someone to meet you at a craft fair to view the goods before agreeing to buy)
· goods whose price fluctuates with financial markets (for example, gold)
· goods made to the consumer’s specification (but this does not include items where components or extras are chosen from a standard list)
· personalised goods (for example including specific name or date, so cannot be re-sold easily)
· perishable goods (for example, fresh cut flowers)
· newspapers, periodicals and magazines, except that subscription contracts can be cancelled
· items sold at a public auction where bidders can choose either to attend in person or bid through the website
· contracts for accommodation, transport of goods, vehicle rental, catering or leisure services, where such services are to be provided on a specific date or within a specific period

The right to cancel also doesn’t apply to:

· where the consumer breaks a seal after delivery, in the cases where that seal is necessary for the protection of health or for maintaining hygiene (for example, on earrings for pierced ears)
· where the consumer unseals audio or video recordings or computer software after delivery
· where the goods become mixed inseparably with other goods after delivery, for example where a craft kit is sold and the consumer has combined the separate parts.

So you don’t have to refund handmade earrings under right to cancel as long as:

  • you sell them face to face
  •  they are made to a consumers specification (not just choosing the colour)
  • you have personalised the earrings
  • OR if you sell the earrings in a sealed bag for hygiene reasons.
    Note – this would need to be stated in your Terms and Conditions and be made clear to the customer and  they could be still be returned just not with a broken seal.


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