February 25, 2021

Is it legal for a store to charge you for trying on clothes?

The Organization of Users and Consumers (OCU) criticizes this practice applied by a wedding suit store

Would you be willing to pay for trying on a piece of clothing? Some small businesses already do it to reward the service offered and deal with the “Showrooming”. Despite the “refined” term, this practice is very simple. Customers go to physical stores, test the product, sometimes deteriorate it, and immediately buy it online cheaper and with a simple click. The Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) has considered that “it is not legal” for a merchant to charge for trying on a garment and will ask the Basque Institute of Consumption to analyze it and determine if it is abusive. The organization has pronounced before the controversy generated by a shop of groom suits Bilbao that has already begun to charge its customers 15 euros for trying on the costumes it sells.

The main damage for the small comments that have to compete with online platforms is that, despite the time and dedication invested in serving the customer, the profit is finally for another. This is the main argument with which the costume store has backed its decision. The money “is symbolic”, defends its owner, who intends to deal with the “fast, cold and impersonal purchase of the big brands”. Of course, the amount is deducted from the total purchase price. Nevertheless, for the OCU this practice is unacceptable and “clearly illegal, since it fails to comply with article 21.1 of the General Law for the Defense of Consumers and Users that establishes that the product verification regime must allow the consumer to ensure the nature, characteristics, conditions and utility or purpose of the good that will acquire ”. In his opinion, “Charging for trying on a pledge means an illegal restriction to this recognized right of consumers”, since, “although the law does not expressly state the gratuitous nature, the customs and customs and interpretations of different courts so acknowledge it.”

This clothing store has not been the first store to apply the controversial measure. Following in the wake of an Australian gourmet food store and an American shoe store, in Burgos, the company Tecnisport charges for the test of snow boots, since this product requires a measurement and work prior to purchase. Too It is usual to find this type of requirements in exclusive restaurants They charge to live the experience of your local, even if you do not finally consume. Even certain voices of Spanish politics were in favor of rates such as the “tester tax.” Specifically, the councilor and spokesman for the City of Valladolid, Pilar del Olmo, in 2018 was in favor of customers starting to pay to use the fitting rooms, receiving in return a barrage of criticism.

Changes in consumption habits shot up to 41,509 million euros the total volume of electronic business in Spain in 2018, 32.4% more than in 2017, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Society Observatory (ONTSI). As opposed, Spain, in the last four years, has lost 30,000 merchants who had a small store, according to data collected by the Union of Professionals of Autonomous Workers (UPTA). However, each area offers different services and, for the OCU, imposing a payment on users to test the product is not the solution. In order to fight against these rates, it will also request that in the future statute of the consumers, the prohibition that the consumer has to pay any amount for exercising his right to verify the characteristics of a product be expressly included.


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