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Can you return knickers

When trying on a pair of knickers that don't fit or are uncomfortable, don't rush to throw them away as you may be entitled to return them for a full refund.

Consumers are entitled to return knickers as abided by law. However, such a law does not apply to knickers, or to be more precise; undies that have been worn. The seller will accept a return if the item was tried on over underwear, tags still intact and not marked so returned knickers can be resold.

Difficult one for the seller this as they must determine if the knickers you've sent back have been worn or not.

If they have then the seller is entitled to turn down your return request, no questions asked.

But for the you, the consumer, its difficult in the sense it can be a little embarrassing returning knickers to the store when coming up to the sales person face to face.

Not so if you return knickers online as the procedure to do so is confidential with no person asking awkward questions.

When returning knickers in store, just make sure they are not worn, tags still fixed with no markings or damage to the underwear itself, then you should be quickly out of there.

What seller return policy says

To quickly understand the procedure for returning knickers to the shop on the high street or online, we've summed up returns polices from leading UK underwear sellers.

What we have noticed is a pattern in there policy that usually applies to all returns.

Those include tags or stitched on tags must be intact, be unworn with tried on knickers should be worn over your own underwear.

Marks & Spencer reply to the question commonly asked by customers: Can I return underwear, lingerie or swimwear. To which M&S reply:

You can return underwear and lingerie, so long as the product packaging hasn't been damaged. If the item is not packaged, you can still return it, so long as the tags and hanger (if applicable) are still intact - M&S

While Debenhams have a broader returns policy that applies to all products; with this little section about undies relates to items they cannot accept a return:

Underwear, lingerie, control wear and hosiery (things like tights and stockings) that has had its tags removed or original packaging opened - Debenhams

If we take a look at specialist lingerie supplier Figleaves, their policy is more focused on the topic of knickers and underwear in general:

We may not be able to give you a full refund if the value of an item is diminished by something you've done for example - Figleaves (UK)

To which, Figleaves are referring to the following things that may cause them to turn down a return request:

  • Worn
  • Marks/make up/fake tan
  • Glitter
  • Lotions
  • Items not tried on over own underwear

However, if we take a look at lingerie giant Victoria Secrets in the US, they gone on to say, well not exclusively mentioning knickers (or panties), but still applies:

ANY items(s) purchased that you don't love may be exchanged or returned. This includes Sale & Clearance merchandise and items received as gifts.

Unopened packaging easy to return

Where knickers are sold in plastic packaging - say a pack of 5 thongs - then this would be an easy return if the packaging hasn't been opened.

If its not opened then its easy for the store to determine that it hasn't been tampered with, resulting in a return accepted with no questions asked.

When the set of 5 thongs in plastic packaging have been opened, its quite possible the store will turn down your return request.

For the very reason the seal of the packaging has been destroyed, therefore they are unable to resell said item.

When trying on knickers at home to see if they fit, always try them on over your own knickers, so they are not up against your private parts.

If knickers have been worn

When sellers talk about returning knickers to the store or online, they are only referring to unworn knickers - with tags on and no markings.

It would be easy for the store to find out if items have been worn if you wish to take your return farther, so if you have and they deny the return - you should probably drop it.

When returning knickers that are out of packaging, its very easy to prevent creasing or unwanted marks.

So been warned they could deny a return again if knickers are damaged, which could be when getting marked for example - even if its out of your control.

Return with sales tags or stitched-on tag

When taking home or having knickers delivered to your door, its easy to quickly remove the tags before trying them on.

Try not to do this, if the knickers don't fit or are uncomfortable, you will have the chance to return them if you've tried them on with your own pants on.

Sales tags must be kept fixed to the knickers at all times as you risk having your return request turn down.

Less likely thing to happen is the removal of stitched on tags.

While it may only apply to a handful of people, its quite possible stitched on tags are quickly removed as they do cause a nuisance.

Still need a receipt or proof of purchase

When all is said and done, remember you still need proof of purchase in the shape of the original receipt if returning to the shop your bought the knickers from.

If returning knickers online, simply login to your account and follow the return section of your account to bring up there return procedure.

Don't embarrass yourself or the sales girl by returning worn knickers; instead you'd want to only bring packaged or unworn, not creased knickers back to the store.

They may ask for a reason so be sure to let them know they don't fit when you tried them on over your own undies.


As its happens, its within consumers rights to return anything in a limited timeframe they don't wish to keep.

However, that rule doesn't apply to knickers and lingerie by law; for the very reason of hygiene, with the seller unable to resell said item.

If returning knickers you must know that they can't be worn against the skin.

Well they can be worn, just know you should protect undwear againist personal hygiene by putting on a pair of your own knickers first.

Make sure you keep all tags intact, don't remove stickers or throw away hangers if they were sold with said things.

If purchased in-store, you'd want to make sure you have the receipt to hand first, well the returns procedure via the internet should be a breeze.

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