Dear DTI Consumer Power,

Why do stores refuse to replace products for a different color or size? Don’t we consumers have the right for replacement? I bring the items back to the store in good condition. I have never even used them, nor have I removed the product from the packaging. I also have the official receipt with me, but the vendor still refuses to grant my request.

I believe this is a direct violation to the prohibition on the “No return, No exchange” policy. Please do something about this.

Jeffrey, Navotas

Dear Jeffrey,

You are right when you said that the “No Return, No Exchange” policy in stores is strictly prohibited. However, this is only applicable to defective products. In your case, the item you bought is not defective. You only wanted to exchange it for a different color or size. The product by itself is not defective so the policy on return and exchange does not apply to it.

According to the return and exchange policy, only defective products can be returned or exchanged. If a consumer had a change of mind on their purchase, they can neither return nor demand for a refund of their money. Stores who permit this only do so as a gesture of goodwill to their valued customers.

Consumers must also be aware that when speaking of the return and exchange policy, only products with factory defects or imperfections due to the seller’s negligence are covered. All items that are rendered defective due to a buyer’s mishandling or those that are exchanged for a different color, size or design are exempted.

To avoid change of mind on the purchase that you make, here are tips from the Department of Trade and Industry:

1. Make sure that it is the right size—Especially when buying clothes, it is important that you fit them to know if it is the right size for you;

2. Get the right color—Some products come in different colors. Ask the store for all the available colors and choose the one you think is most suitable;

3. Inquire about a store’s policy on exchanging items for a different size, color or design—Other stores permit this kind of exchange, but usually within a limited period only. It is a smart choice to ask about a store’s policy on this in case you encounter a change of mind on a purchase that you make; and

4. Deal with stores who comply with the prohibition of the “No Return, No Exchange” policy only—In order to protect your rights as consumers, make sure that you transact with businesses who not only comply with the return and exchange policy, but with other consumer laws as well.

As for the process of returning or exchanging defective products, consumers may demand for either replacement of the item or refund of their money. Other businesses offer repair as another option to their customers. It is up to the consumer whether or not to have the defective product repaired. Should you opt for this, make sure that only authorized personnel will repair the product. In case there is a need to replace a part or accessory on the product, be sure that they will change it with using new and original parts and/or accessories. More importantly, stores are not allowed to charge the consumers for the repair of factory defective products.

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The Department of Trade and Industry welcomes all inquiries, complaints, comments and suggestions from consumers. Call DTI Direct at 751-3330 from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or visit the DTI website