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9 September 2022

'30-day money back guarantee' return a debacle for LegXercise customer

Denise got in touch with us after an extended debacle trying to return the unwanted product.

Anyone who watches The Chase has been subjected to many an infomercial selling products that claim to have the ability to make our lives better. Global Shop Direct is responsible for some of these ads, selling a vast array of products from hair removal systems to carwash canons.

It proudly advertises a 30-day money back guarantee if for any reason you are unsatisfied with your purchase. Yet trying to return a purchase is a lot easier said than done – as Denise’s father experienced. He tried to return an item a week after buying it but was told it would be too difficult and he should gift it to a friend or family member instead.

The product in question is the LegXercise Professional, advertised as an easy-to-use automatic leg mover. This machine claims to promote healthy circulation through continuous movement of your feet. You can produce 4200 steps (2.66km) per hour, all from the comfort of your couch!

Global Shop Direct sells the LegXercise Professional for $269.95, plus $9.95 for postage and handling.

Denise got in touch with us after an extended debacle trying to return the unwanted product.

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In June 2022, after seeing the LegXercise machine advertised on TV, Denise’s father ordered one over the phone. But when the product arrived, he felt it wasn’t right for him.

Within a week of receiving the LegXercise Professional, he phoned Global Shop Direct and said he wanted to return the item; however, the customer service representative persuaded him it wasn’t worth returning due to the courier charge and a ‘repacking’ fee he’d have to pay.

Instead, he was encouraged to give the item to a friend or family member. Following the advice he was given, Denise’s father gifted her the LegXercise machine.

“I called Global Shop Direct,” Denise said. “I was also encouraged to gift the item to a friend or family member.”

When she said she just wanted a refund, Global Shop Direct emailed her a link to create a return label for sending back via post.

Despite Denise’s father having been told that it wasn’t worth returning because of the expense, Denise was told that there would be no charge to return the product.

Denise dropped off the item at her local NZ Post agent, to be returned to Global Shop Direct. Four days later, the package was back sitting on her father's doorstep, minus the return label. Denise said: “As well as removing the return label, the original label had been altered by crossing out Global Shop Direct’s address and circling my father’s address and writing ‘deliver to’.”

After calling Global Shop Direct to ask why it had been returned to her father's house, Global Shop Direct sent an email to Denise: “Rest assured, if the LegXercise Professional has been received by the warehouse, a refund will be processed.”

Then there was a bit of back and forth with email and phone calls trying to get a new return label. During this process, Global Shop Direct refused to process a refund as the item had not been returned. The company also tried to say the item was delivered to Denise’s father on 14 May, implying he was outside the 30-day money back guarantee period. But he’d ordered the product around 28 June.

Denise phoned to get to the bottom of it and was told a refund was going to be credited in 24-48 hours. However, the money never turned up in her father's account.

Through the back and forth, it became apparent that the tracking number given to her was not a new tracking number. Instead, it was one that was frequently used by Global Shop Direct’s customers, adding to the confusion of the company thinking the original order had been placed on 14 May, as another customer had used the same tracking number on that date.

A week later, Global Shop Direct sent a new return label. Again, Denise dropped off the package to her NZ Post agent, to be returned.

“I was annoyed that I’d gone to the trouble of generating a label and taking it to the post office agent, for it to then be promptly sent back to my father and needing to go through the process again.”

After not hearing anything for a while, there followed numerous email and phone discussions. Then she was told that the returned item still hadn’t been received and a refund would not be processed until it arrived.

The tracking number showed that the return was sitting in transit. Frustration building, Denise contacted NZ Post directly to find out what was happening with the returned item.

“It seems the reason it takes so long for the courier to deliver the item back to Global Shop Direct is that they wait until they have a full container before flying back to the warehouse in Australia!”

Finally, nearly two weeks later, the full refund was returned to her father's bank account, and he was not charged a ‘repacking fee’. Denise said that when the return fees were discussed, “the amount of the courier fee and repacking fee were never disclosed”.

“I believe the mention of these costs is with the intention of discouraging people from going ahead with a return,” she said.

“In fact, it's not possible to arrange your own courier to send the item back as the ‘warehouse’ is not located in New Zealand but in Australia, and there is only a ‘private bag’ address which means there is no physical address for a courier to leave a returned item.

“The company has some sort of arrangement with NZ Post where the items are left at NZ Post’s warehouse until they have a full load to send back.”

“Basically, there is a lot of obfuscation to try and deter people at every turn from returning items to them,” Denise said.

A Global Shop Direct spokesperson told Consumer NZ: “We suggest a customer giving the products as a gift since our products could be a perfect gift but that is only a suggestion, not persuasion. If a customer refuses to give it as a gift, of course we will assist them to return the product.”

Denise is concerned for our elderly community.

“This type of advertising is directed at elderly and the tactics used to discourage returns,” she said.

“When I phoned, there was less resistance after I explained that there was nothing wrong with the product, simply that it wasn’t suitable for my father, so he wanted to return it under the 30-day money back guarantee.

“Though I was still asked whether I wanted to gift it to friends or family ... there were quite a few hurdles to get through before the refund was finally processed. A lot of people would have given up long before a refund was in sight.”

Your right to return

Return policies vary from business to business, though under the Consumer Guarantee's Act all products must be of acceptable quality, fit for purpose and match their description.

If a product has a minor fault, the retailer can choose to repair the item, replace it, or refund your money. But if the fault is major, it’s your choice whether you opt for a replacement or refund.

Read about your rights here.

Global Shop Direct’s returns policy states: “Purchase any product from Global Shop Direct and try it in the comfort of your own home for 30 days. If for whatever reason you're not completely satisfied within that 30-day period, you can return it and receive a refund of any payments made (excluding postage and handling)”.

If Global Shop Direct intends to honour its 30-day money back guarantee, but only after the customer has jumped through multiple hoops, we think that is deceptive business practice at best - and at worst, could be a breach of the Fair Trading Act. Global Shop Direct should be upfront about the lengths its customers will have to go to take advantage of the 30-day money back guarantee. We think that if consumers knew what was really involved, they would think twice.

In this situation, Global Shop Direct should’ve honoured their returns policy by accepting the consumer’s decision to return the product when they first asked.

If a seller refuses to honour their policy or makes it difficult to get a refund that you are entitled to, members can contact our Consumer Advice Line.

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