Online store TOM fined for violating refund rules

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The Dutch authority for consumer and market ACM fined online store TOM and its two directors 500 thousand euros for not complying to the rules of reimbursement to customers who wish to cancel their order, ANP reports. 

The Dutch rules state that customers who buy something online, can return it within 14 days after receipt without giving a reason. The seller must refund the full purchase price plus shipping costs. The refund can only be in voucher form if the customer used a voucher to pay in the first place.

According to ACM, TOM - which sells bicycles and sportswear among other things - deliberately violated these rules. The company used all kinds of excuses to evade refunding its customers, and in one case tried to get rid of a customer with a voucher. The company claimed that the customer did not complete his bank account details on the return form. If TOM does pay a refund, it happens too late and often does not include the shipping costs. The company also gave its customers wrong and misleading information about their rights.

ACM states that it is important that customers are able to make returns and get refunds without any problems. Online stores who do not respect this, harm consumer confidence.

TOM disputed the outcome of the investigation and is fighting the fine. According to the online store, ACM did a sloppy and incomplete investigation and the allegations made are at odds with TOM's own investigation int customer satisfaction.