The ad watchdog has upheld a complaint against a furniture website that took months to refund a customer, despite its pledge to do so within 30 days.
The product was delivered by yourfurniture.co.uk to the customer on April 12 but he was unhappy with it and so, as directed by the website, he requested a refund within 10 days. The product was collected on May 10, but a refund was not received within 30 days, as promised.
He therefore complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which received an assurance from yourfurniture.co.uk on August 15 that the refund had been agreed with its accounts department and would be sent once it was signed on August 19.
On August 28, the complainant told the ASA that he still had not received the refund. The ASA contacted the furniture supplier a number of times to ask why this was but received no response until October 7, when yourfurniture.co.uk said that the customer had now had his money back. However, this turned out to be untrue.
yourfurniture.co.uk then said it was having difficulties with its merchant card processor, and on November 8 told the ASA it had sent the customer a cheque. When this failed to arrive, the ASA again tried to contact the company, which again did not respond.
It was only when the ASA said it intended upholding the complaint that the customer got his money back.
The ASA said it was concerned that yourfurniture.co.uk repeatedly promised to refund the complainant, but only did so after several months of failing to honour its promises. Not only had the company failed to send the money back within the specified time or to provide a reasonable excuse for the delay, it had also failed to prove that it had provided other customers with a refund within the time limit. Its claims were therefore misleading.