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Consumer Rights & Returns in Poland


PolskiCanuck 1 | -
16 Jun 2016 #1
I recently bought a mouse for my laptop at a large electronics store in Lublin. Being not satisfied with the performance I received for the cost I brought it back to store to return it and look for something better.

Upon talking to an employee I found out that although I had the entirety of the product in good condition and the receipt within the 14 day return period, due to it being opened and not in the "state it was in from the factory" I could not return it in any way, be it for store credit or simply being charged a restocking fee on the refund.

I guess I was a bit naïve thinking I would have the same consumer rights and return policies that are prevalent in Canada. Is there anyway I could still get my money back? I've been debating coming back tomorrow as a Canadian (I'm fluent in English and Polish) and seeing if a more amicable customer service rep would be willing to help me out.
Paulina 12 | 2,231
16 Jun 2016 #2
Being not satisfied with the performance I received for the cost I brought it back to store to return it and look for something better.

Was it faulty or damaged?

the 14 day return period

Do the store rules say that you can return nonfaulty product within 14 days? I think you can return a product if you change your mind about it within some period of time if you buy something on the internet, but in case of real life stores that probably depends on the store's policy...
jon357 69 | 18,513
16 Jun 2016 #3
I guess I was a bit naïve thinking I would have the same consumer rights and return policies that are prevalent in Canada

Pretty well. Polish consumer protection laws are poor quality and there are various get-out clauses that allow shops to evade responsibility for selling products that are fit for purpose. Basically the old system where many larger shops were state owned (and believe it or not legally considered just to be distributors for manufacturers' products!!!) is still echoed here in the law and of course advantageous to unscrupulous retailers. It really is a case of caveat emptor lex here.
Atch 16 | 3,419
17 Jun 2016 #4
A few months ago my husband bought a pair of shoes at a reputable shop, one of a large chain in Warsaw. They were just for wearing indoors in the office, so they weren't subjected to much wear and tear. After about three weeks they started to fall apart so he returned them. Being the absent minded scientific genius that he is he went to the wrong branch! However they accepted the shoes which I thought was good customer service. They could have told him to go back to the branch where he'd bought them.

However they still did that weird thing where he had to specify whether he would prefer a repair(!!!), replacement or refund. This is perfectly proper within consumer law but most retailers know that it's better customer service to offer the replacement or refund and not even suggest a repair for a brand new item. Anyway he got the refund but had to wait two weeks. I had a similar experience about ten years ago so I couldn't say that customer service has improved. On that occasion I would have been happy to take a replacement as I really liked the style of the shoes but even then she couldn't give me a pair out of the stockroom. I had to fill in sheets of A4 forms and then come back two weeks later only to be told 'buty nie ma', without even a 'niestety', let alone a 'przepraszamy'.

Around the same time we had a problem with a pair of speakers we'd bought at Media Markt. They simply didn't work. We went back next day and they gave us another set with no paperwork and no quibbling. So top marks to them. Mabye it's because they're German? On the other hand both 'shoe' incidents occurred with Polish retailers. Obviously the quality of custormer service is largely determined less by the law and more by company policy. and I don't think Poland has really caught up yet in that respect. They don't quite understand what it means to value your customers and customers themselves have fairly low expectations.
terri 1 | 1,665
17 Jun 2016 #5
Recently, I bought a light fitting from Leroy Merlin (Krakow, Nowa Huta) and realized it was not suitable when I got it home. Went back to them after a few days. Without a quibble, without asking any questions they returned my money in full there and then (so I could go somewhere else). I ended up purchasing something else from them. The customer service was excellent. I was absolutely amazed.
dolnoslask 6 | 3,074
17 Jun 2016 #6
Back n the day when we first bought our place in Poland, I thought it would be a god idea to buy some of our electrical good in the local town.

So wife and I found a shop , we bought a washing macihne and a fridge freezer and a 5zl plug adapter, we didn't haggle on the price.

A few weeks later I tried to use the 5zl adaptor, it was no good one of the pins was loose, I took it back to the shop expecting to get a replacement.

No such luckk , he basically accused me of breaking it and said he would have to send it back to the manufacturer (China) and await their decision. what a knob I thought, I told him I would never buy anything off him again (I still remind him about the adapter when I see him shopping in town).

I have found the above is typical of customer services where I live, big sheds like media expert and castorama are a tad better.

I once returned some twisted floorboards to castorama, the guy promptly got out his tape measure to one of the boards which was still half straight, he said he could not replace the whole board and offered to chop it in half and return the value of the spoiled half. I told the idiot i needed a full board, this fell on death ears.

This is all part of the fun here. We find the good in Poland still outweighs the little hurdles you need to cross in daily life.
Atch 16 | 3,419
17 Jun 2016 #7
Mr Atch and I were accused of shop lifting when we tried to return goods to a branch of Castorama once upon a time! We had bought some electrical fittings. Anyway they were the wrong ones. Next day we went back and decided that we'd better check first and see if they had the ones we actually needed. They didn't so we'd have to ask for a refund.

However when we went to customer service with our items and the receipt, she asked us to hang on a minute and then fetched a uniformed security guard who requested us to follow him to a sort of loading bay area at the back of the shop. We were then held there for 20 mins while they inspected CCTV footage. The bizarre logic was that we had bought one set of fittings and thus got a receipt, gone back into the store and shoplifted a second lot of the same ones which we were now trying to return using the receipt from the original purchase, thus getting our money back and the fittings for free!

Apparently their suspicions were aroused because we hadn't come straight to customer service but had gone to the shelves first. Pani Kommandant on the desk had noted that we had come from the direction of the shelves and her razor sharp instincts were triggered by this. I was beside myself with fury which expressed itself Atch style in high pitched indignant squeaking po Angielsku as I stalked out of the shop vowing never to return. Naturally due to necessity I've shopped at Castorama many times since though maintaining my lofty principles, not at that branch!
dolnoslask 6 | 3,074
17 Jun 2016 #8
Another Castorama Saga,

A Brit neighbor of mine bought a table saw from casta drama, after a month of use the motor blew up, he asked me to tag along to the store with him in case there where any problems.

Of course there was a problem , He went to the service desk and complained In English as he can't/ won't speak Polish.

needless to say an argument ensued the store stating that they would have to return the saw to the supplier for repair that could take six weeks.

My friend (Who has lived in Poland for six years) argued that there should be an immediate replacement, he told them he had spent 30,000 zl at the store in the last few months (Which he had but forgot to put the receipts in his pocket when we left his house ).

Needless to say his hand went into his pockets and no receipts were to be found, the surrounding staff members proceeded to ridicule him (in Polish) between themselves and accuse him of lying he is 70 years old..

At which point I exploded in Polish , I demanded they get get the store manager, my wife came running over to see what all the noise and commotion was over,.

Eventually the manager turned up I explained that the staff were rude and accused the customer of lying, I asked them if they thought it ok to ridicule someone in Polish when he didn't speak polish, they were all red faced, I told them I would write a letter to the head office and proceeded to take note of their name badges.

Manager promptly filled out a note and my friend got his money back straight away, we went to the isles an bought a better model.

I never intended to send a letter (Not one for getting someone the sack over a moment of stupidity) but it did do the trick.
kpc21 1 | 763
17 Jun 2016 #9
The consumer laws in Poland aren't bad, in many cases they give more rights than in the USA, for example a 2-year guarantee is a standard here (even if it's not granted by the manufacturer, the law entitles you to write a complaint and get the product repaired or exchanged to a new one). The problem is sometimes with their execution. Especially in case of shoes the shops like to argue, that they were used in a wrong way and it's the consumer's fault that they got broken. There are also cases with consumer electronics, where the service decides that the product had a contact with water even if it's nothing close to the truth.

However they still did that weird thing where he had to specify whether he would prefer a repair(!!!), replacement or refund.

This is perfectly proper within consumer law but most retailers know that it's better customer service to offer the replacement or refund and not even suggest a repair for a brand new item.

The consumer law states they have to give such a choice. Maybe in case of new shoes it doesn't make much sense, but for some other products yes. They did it correctly.

And that's true that the shop doesn't have to accept a return of a product which works and you return it because you have bought a wrong thing. Only online (and other mail order) shops have to accept such returns.
Paulina 12 | 2,231
18 Jun 2016 #10
And that's true that the shop doesn't have to accept a return of a product which works and you return it because you have bought a wrong thing

That's the thing, from what I've understood from PolskiCanuck's post the mouse worked and wasn't damaged, he simply wasn't satisfied with what he got for the money he paid. I don't see why the store would have to take the mouse back, especially if it was opened and used. Stores are stores and not some rental places, after all.

I know that, for example, you can return clothes bought at Biedronka (maybe at other places too, like Lidl, etc.) during 5 days due to the fact that you can't try them on in the store, only at home. This seems logical to me.
jon357 69 | 18,513
18 Jun 2016 #11
If they sell something that is faulty, of course they should return his money. Unfortunately the law in Poland favours the corporate over the individual here.

So they've kept a small profit margin on the unsatisfactory product they sold him. And probably lost a potential regular customer.
Paulina 12 | 2,231
18 Jun 2016 #12
If they sell something that is faulty

Judging by what PolskiCanuck wrote, the mouse wasn't faulty. He simply didn't like the mouse and wanted something better.
kpc21 1 | 763
18 Jun 2016 #13
you can return clothes bought at Biedronka (maybe at other places too, like Lidl, etc.) during 5 days due to the fact that you can't try them on in the store, only at home.

Exactly. The law says that they have to make conditions to try out the product in a store, so if they are not able to do it, they usually let try it out at home and let return it after a number of days.

I don't see why the store would have to take the mouse back, especially if it was opened and used. Stores are stores and not some rental places, after all.

Exactly. You can always ask the store staff to let you try the mouse out in the store. In big consumer electronics stores it's usually not a problem. In Media Markt and Saturn they have even recently started to put the remotes next to the TVs on the store exhibition, for customers to be able to try them out easily. Or when I was buying a vacuum cleaner, it wasn't any problem to connect each one in the shop to the power outlet and check how well it sucks (when most of the things suck, it's not good, but when a vacuum cleaner sucks, it's good, isn't it?).
Paulina 12 | 2,231
18 Jun 2016 #14
You can always ask the store staff to let you try the mouse out in the store. In big consumer electronics stores it's usually not a problem.

What about stuff like computer monitors? I could use a new one and lately true colours on the computer screen have become important for me, I wouldn't like the screen to be too yellow or too blue so I was wondering if they would let me put, for example, two different monitors next to each other and see how they show colours... What do you think?

(when most of the things suck, it's not good, but when a vacuum cleaner sucks, it's good, isn't it?).

What a pun, kpc21 ;D
jon357 69 | 18,513
18 Jun 2016 #15
He simply didn't like the mouse and wanted something better.

Maybe. I bought a mouse from media Saturn, hated it but didn't ask for a refund. If it had actually been broken, that is a different matter.

Polski Canuck from his user name probably comes from somewhere that has a very different retail environment.

Personally, if I buy something expensive, I always look at product reviews first however the shop who sold him it may well have lost a valuable lifelong customer all for the sake of a 5 or 10 zl profit on one sale.

The tax office here don't help - in Poland the shop can't easily write-off returned products as a tax loss and that doesn't help the retail environment. Same with broken glasses in bars - they don't get an annual allowance for that; it's as if the tax office expect the glasses to last forever.
Paulina 12 | 2,231
18 Jun 2016 #16
Personally, if I buy something expensive, I always look at product reviews

Yes, me too.

however the shop who sold him it may well have lost a valuable lifelong customer all for the sake of a 5 or 10 zl profit on one sale.

Well, if the mouse wasn't faulty and he simply wanted a better model then I don't think PolskiCanuck should be upset with the guy at the store. There are different laws in Poland than in his country apparently and he shouldn't expect that the shop assistant will change them just for him :) (of course, I understand that PolskiCanuck probably didn't know those laws at the time).
jon357 69 | 18,513
18 Jun 2016 #17
Hard to disagree with that.

One of many positive things about the EU is that consumer policies are likely to be standardised Europe-wide and well advertised.
kpc21 1 | 763
18 Jun 2016 #18
I was wondering if they would let me put, for example, two different monitors next to each other and see how they show colours... What do you think?

I think that in a shop like Media Markt they will probably agree. Just go and ask them. I think they shouldn't even mind if you connect both of them to your own computer and compare.
Paulina 12 | 2,231
18 Jun 2016 #19
I think they shouldn't even mind if you connect both of them to your own computer and compare.

Oh, I haven't thought of this... That would be cool actually...
istannbullu34 1 | 105
27 Jul 2021 #20
Merged:

Consumer Rights



Hi everyone,

I ve got a problem with a travel agent about a refund that they reject. I wanna get in touch with some organization or lawyer to get advice to see if there is any sense to proceed further with a legal case. I tried to call Stowarzyszenie Konsumentów Polskich i Fundację Konsumentów hotline but seems like noone speaks English. Any suggestions?
amiga500 2 | 998
27 Jul 2021 #21
Please share the details of your travel arrangements and contract here with the esteemed members who have years of conflict management experience, for our expert judgement.
Cargo pants 3 | 1,312
27 Jul 2021 #22
conflict management experience, for our expert judgement.

BIG LOL,like some here use to advice,to threat there landlords to scare them by reporting to uzad skarbowy,thinking all landlords didnt pay taxes on there rental incomes,

They thought/think they were the elites in Poland teaching Angelski and living cheap high life.


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