Consumer Law - Return Items to a Shop

Hi there,
I bought €600 worth of paint for my fence. Today I returned €400 to Mr. Bricolage. I was given a credit note and not a refund. I was told in the shop this is their policy. I asked to speak to a manager. The sales clerk went into a back room then came out a minute later and said credit note only.

I can’t spend €400 in a month before I leave France but I have to pay my credit card bill for €600.

Is this legal? What are consumer protection laws?

I went on an e-chat and was told the stores are run independently and they make their own rules. My french is weak and can’t put up a fight in person.

Any insights welcome. Thanks

Unfortunately it’s completely legal and they’re under no obligation to take it back at all if it’s not faulty.

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I recently returned a kettle which was faulty and got full refund (albeit not Mr Bricolage)… but I would not have expected or accepted a credit note.

However, from your post, it sounds like you simply bought too much paint…
OK that happens… Mr Bricolage will take it back (provided it is unopened etc)

From personal experience with Mr Bricolage locally over 20 years… it is always credit note if they take something back from us … and we’ve used the credit note for other items as and when.

Things so much better in the UK. Bought £150 of paint from the UK for our shutters and its not the same as the colour swatch. Phoned the lady to complain and I am returning it for a different mixed colour closer to what we actually wanted without issue and we wont be back for a month.

Only thing I could suggest is if an SF member near you is doing a lot of work they may purchase the bon avoire (SP) to help you?

You had a complaint… slightly different from simply buying toooo much :wink:


A bit of a different situation as you didn’t get what you ordered rather than returning surplus. In the UK, a cash refund for surplus materials is a courtesy and the retailer could simply offer a credit note if they wished or even not take it back at all.


Over the past three years I’ve returned many diy materials where I overpurchased to avoid running out and always asked if I wanted a credit note or refund and always taken a refund. Personally I’d go into the store and threaten to take it further on the net as nobody ‘normally’ likes bad publicity. A difficult one and certainly doesn’t fit with my experience so far here in France.

Oh, in France it seems to be a badge of honour. I love this country so much but my goodness they have no idea about customer service, or rather they do, but often purposely choose to do the opposite. It’s like they looked at the terrible saccharine ‘customer is always right’ stuff of the US and purposely inverted everything to make a point :sweat_smile:

On the actual point though this is the reason i gave up on Mr Bricolage pretty early on, it he consistency just wasn’t there in any aspect, it was like dealing with an entirely different business each time you visited a store, be it different branches, or the same one from one day to the next. Of course others may have an entirely different experience with their local Mister Bric but then that underlines my point of an absolute lack of consistency.

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Yes, think many places didn’t get the memo about customer service and how it can drive the business forward :grin:


A wee bit of a preamble here but bear with me.
Twenty years ago I tried, in my ignorance, to buy the equivalent of an immersion heater switch to put between my tableau and my chauffe eau. The little monkey man as I’ve come to know him wagged his finger in my face as he said “Non, non, non!”, at the same time turning and walking away from me. I asked my wife “Did that sound like I made an indecent proposal vis-a-vis his wife.” Not my exact words, if I’m honest, but his reaction would have been appropriate, nonetheless, if I had. Over the years I’ve had a a few run-ins with this guy including a successful refund claim despite his protestations. Moving on 20 years, a friend bought a heater from the same store, Br••oM••ché in L* S**terraine, (< me being discreet), at the beginning of the year. It was returned to the shop three times due to faulty ignition. When i suggested a refund or a replacement , monkey man started quoting manufacturer and store policy along with his opinion. When i pointed out that the law trumped policy and opinion using my hand to indicate the hierarchy, he bent down and slapped the floor to indicate my place in the hierarchy. I accepted that, saying, “Oui, moi et tous les clients de ce magasin.” In retrospect, perhaps i should have said “one’s opinion”. Stuff him, that day was always coming. French customer service, by and large, stinks. Maybe others can help me, is La Souterraine particularly bad?


Leroy Merlin is the best for returns, they have a special counter here for anything you may have bought and don’t want as long as its not damaged etc. I even took a specially ordered filet of wood back recently that we ordered “just in case it was needed” and it wasn’t so got my €50+ back immediately debited to my bank account.


Not just France, and admittedly a long time ago, I bought a watch for my wife from Argos. It plainly said there was no guarantee that the battery was fully charged.

After a day it stopped working and I assumed it needed a new battery so took it to a local jeweller to get a new one put in. He opened the back and said that the battery was fully charged and that therefore the watch was faulty.

Back to Argos and they refused a refund on the grounds that the back had been opened, and thus the warranty invalidated.

Sadly I limited my protest to shouting it as loud as I could to the long queue at the counter and my only sautisfaction was seeing a few of them turn and leave the shop.

Certainly in our part of France… Mr Bricolage shops are each individually run… often family affairs… not part of some larger chain with associated staffing/financial backup etc.

In that context, I can understand their " Credit Note only" for overbought non-faulty goods…
and I do think they are offering good Customer Service in actually taking-back such stuff…

LM is the same here.

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The hierarchy seems to be :slight_smile:

  1. Employees 10 points.

  2. Business Owners 6 points ( if they’re lucky).

  3. Customers 1 point.

Customers who “know someone” in the business
may get 2 points or even 3.

Customers who are family-connected to the business, may get 3 or 4. If they’re part of a powerful or locally influential family, they may get 4 or even 5.

Only by observation.

I always laugh to see the employees’ cars lined up in the parking spaces nearest the door in a local-ish Lidl. Not sure where the owner’s car is - might be the saloon car in the corner of the car park under a shady tree. In the UK, some companies’ employees aren’t allowed to park in the company’s car park. Or if they are allowed, they’ll be told to park far, far away from the building entrance.

And the customers? They take what’s left.

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My main problem is I have done all my DIY and don’t need a lawnmower or bbq. I leave france in a month and may not be back next year. The credit is valid till 4 July 2025.

I live in SJDM, just in case anyone on this forum would like to buy it from me :wink:

It’s a good job I don’t need a BBQ or a Lawnmower then as I have no idea what or where SJDM is. :rofl:
I do hope you get them off your hands in time though. :smiley:

You could ask the shop if they’ll extend the date limit… and/or if they’ll allow someone other than yourself to make use of it…

It’s a lesson for us all to learn… think very carefully before buying … (you won’t be the first to have been over-enthusiastic).

Pretty normal for Mr. Bricolage. My disdain for that brand has heightened to limits I never dreamed would be possible. My local one got bought out by Intermarché, who turned it into Bricomarché. Pimped the store up nicely. Unfortunately, kept the same incompetent and aloof staff (well they had to, by law, at least for a certain period). I fear I am about to discover that they will refuse to repair the recently broken down sit-on lawnmower I bought from them 2 years ago, and which is now outside of the warranty period, if what my neighbour tells me is to be believed. The two other “specialist” lawnmower shops in the area allegedly won’t touch the stuff sold by Bricomarché - should be fun!

I defend Mr Bricolage for not giving refunds on “overbought” items…
Let’s face it… they’ve sold the item, reduced their stock and (if necessary) ordered more stock to replace it …
They’ve taken the money in the Till, banked it (and their Bank breathes a happy sigh)… and life goes rolling-on…

To suddenly be asked not only to take-back the “overbought” but to find the Cash to handover… can perhaps throw a wobbly in the delicate balance of their business.

Mr Bricolage consists of independently-run outlets… which might not have the financial fluidity to offer Refunds which other, bigger businesses can …

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