For those visiting on holiday or staying longer term, a predictably frustrating experience awaits you upon returning unwanted items to stores in Thailand. Getting refunds will have likely been a much easier process back in a foreigner’s home country. Retailers have generally adopted a “no returns” policy in the Land of Smiles, where consumer protection laws seem to be one-sided, in the favour of vendors. Those laws do not impose a requirement on the sellers to disclose any information about their returns policy. This places the responsibility in the hands of the consumer to ask about their right to return goods. Thai stores having scant regard towards customer satisfaction has meant that over time, people in Thailand have got used to it as the norm. Thankfully, some retailers have attempted to address the unfairness of the situation by choosing to have much better refund policies than others.
Currently, consumers in the Kingdom and their rights are covered under the Civil and Commercial Code. However, study of this piece of legislation does not highlight or offer proper protection to customers who purchase goods in a retail stores or online. The CCC generally covers general matters of contract and allowances to formally end such contracts in the event of non-service or below standard service, it does not cover the consumers right to return goods, nor does it compel merchants to disclose the details on their returns policy publicly. This can be a worrying prospect, especially when you’re faced with a potentially high-value purchase that is completely unprotected by law. The foremost international brands trading in Thailand have spotted an opportunity to set themselves apart from the competition, in this respect and have found it beneficial to offer returns policies, despite the lack of enforcement to do so. This creates a well-rounded and trust orientated buyer experience and breeds confidence in the market and confidence in the market stimulates the Thai economy. Hopefully, the rest of the merchants in the market will soon follow suit.
The much-loved Swedish international clothing brand offer a 14 day returns policy online and in store for customers in Thailand, providing the items are unworn and you’re able to provide a valid receipt. The policy excludes all sale and promotion items, accessories, underwear and swimwear, socks and tights. Their policy may differ for Designer and Special collections.
Compare that to H&M stores in the US, where you have 30 days to decide if an item is right for you, with the same items excluded as in Thailand.
The global Japanese fashion giant has taken Thailand by storm and offer one of the more generous policies, with 30 days allowed on all items, providing that they are in their original condition (new, unused, unwashed, unaltered and without defects) and on production of a valid receipt.
In the UK, you remarkably have even less time than Thailand to bring your goods back for a refund, with 28 days allowed for consumers to return or exchange.
Marks and Spencer
The UK’s favourite luxury retailer specialises in selling high quality clothing, home products and food products. Their stores in Thailand give you 14 days to bring back unwanted items in new condition, as long as you have the receipt. They must also be returned to the same branch that you initially made the purchase from to get your money back.
Shoppers in the homeland of the famous brand have it easy in comparison to Thailand – Not only do they give you your money back right away, by whichever method you initially paid, within 35 days. Their British customers can even bring items back without a receipt, however they will give you a credit note to spend rather than a cash or credit card refund.
The UK’s biggest supermarket chain has over 1,000 stores in Thailand under the brand name Tesco Lotus, but their returns policy in the Kingdom varies hugely. In Thailand, customers are allowed 7 days to bring their items back to the store and you must produce a receipt to receive a refund, this excludes perishable items such as food.
In the UK, their customers are allowed 30 days to return their items with a receipt, they must be in an unused and resalable condition. However, the time limit does vary depending on the type of item.
Sephora is a French multinational chain of personal care and beauty stores with many locations around the globe. Customers in Thailand can return their items within 14 days of purchase, but they must be in an unused condition and accompanied with a receipt.
In their UK operation, the brand is much more accommodating. They allow consumers to return items for a full refund within 30 days, in a new or lightly used condition and with a receipt for a full refund. Items returned in the same condition and with a receipt can be exchanged for new items or a credit note between 31 – 60 days.
The world’s biggest sporting goods retailer Decathlon hails from France and their exceptional returns policy is extended to customers around the world. They offer returns in a new and unused condition, with the production of a valid receipt, providing that the product is received back within 365 days of the original purchase. They allow customers to take advantage of this offer whether the items were purchased in store or online.
The Swedish retail institution is synonymous with selling well-designed furniture, homeware, and home decoration at low prices. Thai customers will be pleased to know that this organization seems to care about their loyal fans when it comes to refunds. They have the same policies in Thailand as they do in the other countries in which they operate.
Ikea give you 365 days to return items. Money will be returned in the same method as your original payment with proof of purchase in new, unused and re-saleable condition and with the packaging.
Iconic Spanish high-street brand Zara afford their customers the same benefits with returns worldwide. So whether you’re shopping with them in London or in Bangkok, you’re able to return your items in a new and unused condition within 30 days of the original purchase, with a receipt for a full refund or an exchange. This offer extends to both customers shopping with the brand online or in one of their retail stores.