Why can't I get a refund after returning a £500 KitchenAid mixer?


I fancied one of those KitchenAid mixers that Mary Berry uses and, wanting to avoid Amazon, I ordered it directly from the company’s website. The system failed as I was paying, so I began again. Seconds later, an email arrived confirming I had ordered two mixers at £500 each.

I called customer services immediately and was told that the order had been processed and shipped. Within 10 minutes? Warehouse staff must hold a speed record.

I was instructed to refuse the second mixer when it arrived. It actually shipped five days later. I duly refused to take delivery.

A few days later it reappeared at my door, and I refused it again. It transpired KitchenAid was declining to accept the item back because of Brexit. It is now stuck at Heathrow and I am down £500.

I fear this shows that companies are going to use Brexit as an excuse to ignore sales agreements.

DW, London

Brexit is, indeed, to blame – compounded by poor processes at KitchenAid, which is part of Whirlpool.

Although the website you ordered from has a UK address, orders are shipped from Belgium. And here’s the rub. Since 1 January, goods imported from the EU to the UK, and vice versa, have become liable for customs duty of up to 25% if they cost over £135. You wouldn’t have been aware of this as KitchenAid paid the duty before dispatching.

When an item is returned, however, the paperwork and potential charges have to be sorted all over again with the delivery company and the authorities.

KitchenAid confirms that the new rules are what is hindering the return to its Belgian warehouse. It also explains that the order process is immediate, which is why you were unable to cancel within just 10 minutes of placing it. It refunded the £500 after I intervened.

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This is not good enough. Given the complexity of the new rules and charges, KitchenAid should be more flexible about cancellations before orders have been dispatched.

Instead of being told to refuse delivery, you should have been directed to KitchenAid’s 14-day returns policy, which may have avoided the confusion. The company should not make customers pay the price for airport wrangles over customs charges.

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