We cover the ways your purchases are protected, and what you can do if you’re unhappy with the goods or services you’ve received.
What are consumer rights?
Consumer rights refer to the protection you receive whenever you purchase a product or service. Essentially, whenever you buy a product or service, you are agreeing to certain terms with the seller. These include ensuring the product or service is fit for purpose, of satisfactory quality and as described.
Consumer rights law
There are several laws relating to consumer rights in the UK. You can quote these to the seller to support your case for a repair, replacement or refund.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies to any products and services bought after 1st October 2015. It replaced the Sales of Goods Act 1979 with updates including the right to return faulty goods and get a refund, replacement or repair. It also contains new rights about the purchasing of digital content.
Sales of Goods Act 1979
While the Sales of Goods Act 1979 has now been replaced, you may still need to claim under this law if you bought any faulty goods on or before 30th September 2015. Even if an item is faulty, your rights are against the seller of the product, rather than the manufacturer.
Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 has also been replaced by the Consumers Rights Act 2015. However, for any services entered into before 1st October 2015, you will need to refer to this.
Examples where this act may be applicable include the use of suppliers, such as a solicitor, car mechanic or builder.
What can the consumer rights laws help with?
Consumer rights law can help with several things:
Returning faulty goods
All consumers have a right to ask for a full refund for faulty goods within 30 days of ownership. This means either from the date of purchase or when you received the product, whichever is later.
After the 30 days have passed, the seller must offer to repair or replace the item before you can claim for a refund. Typically, this is applicable for up to six months after purchase and the onus is on the seller to prove the fault wasn’t there at the time of sale. If the seller is unable to repair or offer a replacement, they must provide a full refund.
Once the six months have passed, your rights last up to six years. However, it becomes your responsibility to prove the item was faulty at the time of ownership. After this time, if the seller is unable to repair or offer a replacement, they can deduct the refund to account for fair use.
The seller should refund the delivery cost of the faulty goods, as well as paying for the cost of repairing or replacing the item and sending it back to you.
You do not need to show a receipt when returning faulty goods. However, it may help your claim to be resolved more quickly. If you no longer have a receipt, you can also show a bank statement as proof of purchase.
The consumer rights law states that services must be provided with reasonable care and skill. If you haven’t received this, your options are to ask the supplier or business to re-do the service again or to ask for a part refund.
You can ask for a part refund only if the service cannot be done again, it would be an inconvenience to you or if it would take too long.
You have up to six years to make a complaint if a service wasn’t provided with reasonable care and skill.
Credit and store cards
Under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, your credit card or store card supplier must offer free protection for any purchases made that are over £100. This means that with any problems with a purchase, you can get your money back.
If your credit card or store card provider refuses to give you your money back for a purchase over £100, you should contact the Financial Ombudsman who can help with your claim for free.
While Section 75 doesn’t apply for credit purchases under £100, you may be able to use chargeback to reverse payments made within 120 days.
If a product you bought is fake or counterfeit, you have a right to a full refund. You should also report the company that sold you the counterfeit item to Trading Standards.
Read our tips for how to spot a scam here.
Who do I contact if I have a complaint?
There are several organisations you can contact if you would like advice about your consumer rights, including Citizens Advice.
You can also contact Trading Standards to report a business that may have acted unfairly, scammed you, or if the product or service you bought was dangerous. If a seller is refusing to refund, repair or replace a product, you can also report it to Trading Standards for breaching your statutory rights.
Similarly, visit the Ombudsman Association’s website to make a complaint to the industry’s ombudsman.
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