Returning Goods in France

Has anyone bought a reasonably expensive single item in France and taken it back having decided it was not suitable?

As we know it is easy to do in the UK. No questions asked, just good customer service.

I bought 2 different paraffin heaters from Leclerc last week and have decided that one of them is not as good as the other. I would like to swap it. Do you think that this will be easy? It is back in its carton and looks just as it did when it was unpacked.

Does it make any difference if an item is used or unused?

My previous experience of trying get a refund on a ‘failed’ tool (not expensive) at Leclerc was difficult to say the least.

Are there any laws or rules that I can quote if they do not play ball?

What made you decide it isn’t as good … ???
Have you actually used this heater…???

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Years ago I bought a couple of Osram bulbs from Auchan which were faulty. I took them back to the shop and the manager spent 15 minutes going through the tiniest of print before pronouncing that my claim was against Osram not Auchan. I knew he was not right but did not get myself into a (French) arguement and claimed from Osram. It took many weeks and more than one letter (one to the MD in Belgium or Holland) before we got restitution, plus a couple of LEDs gratis for our trouble.

On another occasion I took an azerty keyboard back to Leclerc’s because it simply did not work all the time. They tested it on a computer in store and it worked perfectly. :astonished:, so no exchange. Back at home it behaved badly as ever and still sits somewhere unloved and unused with all the other rubbish. My last effort to assimilate with azerty ( @DrMarkH :wink:) :rofl:.

I should say that more recently I have had a better experience with that Auchan store, they replaced without question a roll of supposedly 100 litre rubbish bags that had no interiors, just a single layer of plastic sheet. :joy:

A couple of months back, the chuck on my cordless drill jammed and I was horrified to see that the guarantee had expired the previous week. Nevertheless, took it back to Bricorama and feigned surprise when they told me that the guarantee had run out. However, to their credit, they replaced the drill with the new model that now has nineteen speeds instead of thirteen (‘unlucky for some’?).


Years ago we bought a surprisingly cheap hammer drill from Continent, now Carrefour, to chip off some horribly thick plaster. It worked well for one whole day, and we did quite a large area with it. Then it stopped working. We took it back and even though we had used it, we got a refund !

Quite right too… it was obviously faulty!!!
For a thing to be faulty, in the main one has to have used it…

Even so, one can make the decision within 7 days… “oh dear, now I’ve read the booklet and looked at it, it isn’t as good as the other one”… and get it changed/refunded.

but if it’s been used (ie filled with parrafin) and now you’ve made the decision that you don’t really like it… I reckon that could be a whole new ball game… 'cos now it can’t simply be put back on the shelf…

we don’t have all the details of the OP situation
but I’ve outlined what is my own opinion on this sort of thing.

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We had a helluva row with Argos in UK many years ago, didn’t win it but I certainly made myself heard in the queue to be served. I bought Fran a watch, it had a battery in it but it was clearly stated that they didn’t guarantee the life of the battery, it had been going from the time it was made to the time of purchase.
A week later the watch stopped working, we assumed it was the battery so we took it back to have a new one fitted and were willing to pay for it. They said ‘we don’t sell or fit batteries’ so we took it to a reputable jeweller who opened it up and said ‘the battery is fine, the watch is faulty’. Back to Argos who, after noting the slight scratch marks which indicated the back had been removed, said that in doing so we had invalidated the guarantee. I should have pursued it, but couldn’t be bothered and told them as loudly as I could that I would never darken their doors again, and never have.

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I bought 2 paraffin heaters. One an electronic mist sprayer and one with a basic wick. I tried it for a few days and the smell was too much. I hoped that this was due to it being new and that the fumes would reduce. the opposite occurred and by day 5 the thing made my eyes water and it gave me a bad headache. Yes it was being used in a ventilated area. No problems with other paraffin heaters. I emptied the tank and cleaned and polished it. Put it back in all its original packing. then back in the carton and resealed it. Went back to Leclerc at 18:30 yesterday even though I had bought it at 15:00 7 days earlier so technically it was over 7 days… since it was purchased. Turned up at the enquiry desk. The very friendly girl on the counter took at back without a murmur just asking why it was being returned. As I now know I did not have to give a reason but the reason I gave was that I preferred the more advanced other model I had also purchased. I also stated I would be purchasing another one of them once they took this one back. They asked for my credit card to to process the refund stating it would be a few days to go through. I bought one of the other heaters there and then. I am sure that I would have received a refund even without buying another heater. I was impressed and satisfied with this service! I am sure it depends who is on the desk when you go…


Thanks for the update.
From what you say about how the fumes got worse and worse… that sounds like something was faulty… these fires can be very dangerous if not absolutely A1.

Anyway, you managed to get a refund… well done.

Just as an aside, have you got a CO monitor, carbon monoxide alarm, may save your life for very little expense

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Yes, several. Also the latest paraffin heaters (electronic) ones have them built in and they work!

PS another reason I was not impressed with the wick version.

Well, obviously this electronic one is sufficiently pleasing to make you buy a second…
can you give us a link or reference number/make/model… in case others are looking for similar.
It’s always good to have a “user’s comments” for this sort of thing.

Qlima produce many models but I do recommend this one.
It has 2 new features which I like:

  1. Piggy bank - it actually turns off once the set temperature is attained and then comes back on as it drops instead of just reducing its flame, thus saving electricity and fuel.
  2. You can press the ‘Run for 3 Hours’ mode after which it automatically turns off.

It also has the Start up timer which is useful for warming somewhere before you get up.
We use it in the kitchen early in the morning.

It is good with no discernible smell or fumes, even when used with the cheaper brands of paraffin. No need to buy the Qlima expensive stuff. All paraffin has to be produced to an EU standard of quality.

We are being very energy conscious this Winter so every saving helps. As I stated at the start we have no central heating in our house and I detest the electric wall heaters installed by the previous owner. The paraffin heaters are very good. The price of paraffin has rocketed this year. Last year I bought 20l for about 15 Euros, this year the cheapest I have found has been 32 Euros. Paraffin pricing is closely linked to the price of the other fuels, gas, oil and coal but now oil has come down significantly I expected paraffin to do the same. Strange it is so slow in doing so, now I wonder why that is. I read a good description for the price of fuel at the pumps - ‘Rocket and Feather’ phenomenom. The price rises like a rocket but only falls like a feather…

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If you bought them in the store and the one which is “not as good” is not actually faulty then I think you will be relying on LeClerc’s charity and goodwill.

If you bought them online you *should* be able to return the one that you’re not keen on.

Los of prblems with LeClerc with returns. Big prob with a lawn mower. Problems with CEM and we had a legal insurance cover which should help in these matters. The reaction varies from non chalont to rude.

On that basis then, our personal experience with Leclerc is exceptional - ie never been a problem. No need to stand and shout or abuse the receptionist, just quietly and calmly explain the issue and they have dealt with it professionally every time.


Must say, I phoned in advance of making the long trip to return something… and they were very polite and helpful.
When we finally got there, later in the day… we were almost expected it seemed… perhaps they’d been warned to expect a mad English lady… :wink:
Whatever, I explained again… what I wanted to change and why… and wooooosh… my bankcard was tucked into the machine and the “offending” purchase removed from sight.
But this was within 24hrs of purchase… and it’s interesting to note now that I could have taken my time within the 7-day rule.

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I’m sure it’s just an attitudinal question to be honest.
Even though the ticket has clearly stated no refunds on the item we have nonetheless successfully negotiated a refund.
Go figure!