Q: I’m looking to sell via Amazon inshaAllah. As a seller you would normally offer your customers a refund period. I heard that in fiqh this period cannot be longer than 3 days, is this correct? As the society norms is usually 14 days, 28 days etc… Could you shed some light on this and also provide me with some advice when selling online.
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: There is a difference of opinions within the Hanafi School regarding the option period of cancelling a transaction after its completion. Imam Abu Hanifa (ra) [and also Imam Shafi’I (ra)] ruled that stipulating cancellation option with a known period is valid for a period of 3 days or less. Imam Abu Yusuf (ra) and Imam Muhammad (ra) [and Imam Ahmad (ra)] ruled that it is permissible to stipulate any known period that is agreed upon by the buyer and the seller. [Imam Malik (ra) allowed different periods for different commodities.] However, given the ratio decidendi for the option of rescission, modern practice, and that there is no sound textual proof to prohibit a period of more than three days, the opinion of Imam Abu Yusuf (ra) and Imam Muhammad (ra) [and Imam Ahmad (ra)] will be the favoured opinion nowadays. In some cases it could be a legal requirement to have a cooling time period of more than 3 days. For example when trading online, the law gives a minimum 14 days cooling off period automatically from the moment the seller receives the purchased item. Therefore one may be able to offer a refund up to 14 days if it is a legal requirement. If the item sold requires a much more longer period for someone to decides whether they are happy with their purchase or not, then one may be able to extend it for a longer known period. However it is not preferable to extend it for very long periods of time unnecessarily.