Free English Lessons

Getting a Refund – Listening Lesson (A2)

What do you do if you want to take something back to a shop? In this free listening lesson from Oxford Online English, you can hear a customer trying to get a refund in a shop, and learn useful phrases for shopping and talking about problems with things you have bought. This is a pre-intermediate lesson.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Man: Hello, can I help you?
Woman: Yes, I’d like to return this fan.
Man: Okay, may I ask why you’re returning it?
Woman: It’s too big, so I don’t have anywhere to put it.
Man: So there’s nothing at all wrong with it?
Woman: No, it’s just not right for me.
Man: OK, do you happen to have the receipt on you1?
Woman: Yes, just a minute, it should be in my bag. Oh no! I think I’ve forgotten it! I must have left it at home.
Man: Okay, so I can still give you a refund, but it will be in vouchers2.
Woman: Can’t you bend the rules3 a little? I promise I bought it here.
Man: Yeah, I’m not saying that you didn’t, but unfortunately, we do need the receipt to do a cash or card refund.
Woman: If I come back another day with the receipt, can I get the refund then?
Man: You … you’re able to get a refund within two weeks of your purchase.
Woman: And can I give you the fan now? I don’t want to drag4 it home and then here again.
Man: I’m sorry, we’ve can’t take it because we haven’t really got anywhere to put it. You’ve got two options really: you can bring it back another day and get a refund on cash or card, or I can give you the vouchers today.
Woman: Fine. I’ll take the vouchers, then. Do they have an expiry date5?
Man: No, you can use them any time. Here are your vouchers, and this is your refund receipt.
Woman: Alright, thanks then.
Man: OK, thank you very much, bye bye!

1. The phrase ‘on you’ means ‘with you right now’. For example, in your pocket or in your bag. You can also say ‘with you’.
2. Vouchers are something like money, but which can only be used in one shop, or to buy certain things.
3. ‘Bend the rules’ means ‘make an exception’, i.e. don’t follow the rules in this one case.
4. ‘Drag’ = take/carry, but with the added idea here that the fan is heavy and/or difficult to carry.
5. The expiry date is the date after which something cannot be used.

Getting a Refund – exercise 1
Listening comprehension: multiple choice

Answer five questions about the conversation. The first is about the general context and the others ask about details.

Getting a Refund – exercise 2
Grammar: modal verbs

Modal verbs like ‘can’, ‘may’, ‘should’ and ‘must’ have more than one meaning. They can be used to make language more polite and also to express certainty. There are many examples of this in the conversation.

Read five sentences that are used in the dialogue. Then, listen again and write one modal verb from the box in each gap. Sometimes, more than one modal verb may be possible, but you should write the one used in the recording.

Getting a Refund – exercise 3
Vocabulary: questions and answers for customer service

Some of the language used in this dialogue can be adapted for any customer service situation.

Read five questions that are similar to those asked in the recording. Then, move the sort elements into the correct answer spaces on the right.

Getting a Refund – exercise 4
Listening skill: identifying hesitation sounds

One very common feature of speech that doesn’t appear in the full text of the dialogue is what happens when the speakers are hesitating. We do this when we’re thinking, or when we’re nervous because we’re preparing to ask something but don’t expect the answer we want.

Listen to five short clips from the dialogue and identify how hesitation occurs each time.

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