‘Trader refuses to exchange product twice’

Hello CCPC,
I bought a dress for my mother at a named boutique in Lusaka. When I took it home, it was discovered that it was not her size. I took it back to the shop and I assumed size 40 would fit, which I requested and was exchanged with, but unfortunately it did not fit her.
I went back to the shop but this time they refused to exchange me the dress, saying they do not exchange products or goods twice. Is this right? Please help.                                                       WC
Hi WC,
We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Thank you for bringing this concern to our attention. We commend this trader for exchanging the dress. Some traders would have refused to exchange it even the first time. However, this does not mean that refusal of exchange of goods is justified. Consumers must also ensure that they do not abuse this process.
The exchange of clothes is sometimes a problem due to health reasons such as different skin reactions but if the trader says it applies to all products, then it is unjustified.
Therefore, there is no justification whatsoever for the trader to state that they do not exchange goods or products twice, but they have to specify which products are these, for instance, underwear or stockings. As a consumer, you do not only have rights to ensure that you enjoy value for your money but you also have obligations just like the trader does such as of ensuring good health to the public.
We encourage consumers to try on products such as shoes, clothes and ensure that they are a right fit before leaving the shop. This is because it is easier for a trader to exchange a product while you are still in the shop unlike taking the product home and return it the following day.
It is important to know one’s precise size of shoes, clothes and so forth, if such a situation is to be avoided. You would have asked your mother her right fit of a dress or you could have gone with her so that she tries on the dress while at the shop and if it happened not to be the correct size, the trader could have easily given you another one.
Consumer issues are not only one-sided, meaning they do not only favour you the buyer and infringe rights of a trader, remember there are products and goods which cannot be exchanged solely based on health concerns.
Consumers must ensure that even before they purchase goods or services, they have the full information about the product they want, namely size, colour, and other vital features on a product; if they are to get value for their money and save time trying to negotiate with the trader when they had a chance to buy a product of their choice the first time.
We would like to appeal to both traders and customers, especially during this festive season when most goods and products are put on promotion, to shop around to check for prices, quality and other important details about the product before making a purchase decision.
For any other queries and concerns, feel free to report any to us on the details below.
Please e-mail us on:, Visit our Facebook page: or Follow us on Twitter @CompComZambia. We are at 4th Floor Main Post Office Building, PO Box 34919, Lusaka. Telephone: 222775/222787, Toll-Free line: 5678 across all mobile phone networks.

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