Do you know your consumer rights?
They have recently changed so you will be forgiven if you don’t…
In October 2015, Consumer rights changed which gave us more power if things went wrong with purchase we made.
What exactly changed? What can you do if something you buy is faulty? Find out the answers to these questions and more below…
What are consumer rights?
Consumer rights are a law to protect customers from harm when you buy goods or services. If anything should go wrong with these goods or services then you are legally covered and you could be entitled to a refund, an exchange or compensation.
Am I entitled to a refund if I have changed my mind?
Unfortunately not. The goods have to be faulty in order to get a refund. Many retailers do allow you to change your mind, and will exchange goods if they are in good condition. But this is down to individual shops, and they are not forced to do so by the law.
Your consumer rights cover you from electrical repairs to beauty treatments. Such services must be delivered “with reasonable care”, after consultation with the consumer. If you are unhappy with the service you have received then you can ask the provider to put it right, or give you a refund if you prefer.
When am I entitled to a refund?
If the goods you have purchased are faulty, and you bought them from a UK-based retailer then you are entitled to ask for them to be repaired – or to get a full refund. You can now get that refund up to 30 days from purchase and the money must be returned to you within 14 days.
What do I do if a retailer refuses to give my money back?
You can take the retailer to a small claims court, but that is an expensive process. New Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers have been set up, which can handle additional products like energy contracts.
These services are free to consumers, but are paid for by the retailers. Many retailers have not yet signed up to these schemes, so it may prove difficult to use them.
What if I bought the product more than a month ago?
If you bought the product more than 30 days ago then you are still entitled to a repair or a replacement. The retailer has one chance to make the repair and if you are still unhappy after the repair, you have a right to a refund. This right extends to 6 months after the purchase.
What if I bought something more than six months ago?
If after six months you aren’t satisfied with something your purchased, you still have a right to ask for a repair or a replacement. But the retailer now has a right to deduct some money for the use you have had out of the goods.
Unless the product is a car, the retailer can deduct money after just a month.
Am I covered for buying goods online?
Buying goods on line is covered by the Distance Selling Regulations, which provide protections over and above the Consumer Rights Act.
For the first time, digital purchases such as games, films, ebooks etc are covered. However, if the downloads will not play on your computer or mobile device, you will be entitled to a replacement, but not a refund. This is because of the difficulty of proving that a download does not work.
What if a download damages my computer?
If you download something which carries a virus attached, and you need to get your computer repaired as a result, you are entitled to compensation.
What if I buy something second-hand, such as from an auction site?
Your consumer rights cover second-hand goods where they are bought from a retailer but not an individual.
If you purchase the good from a website such as Ebay then it would be the individual business that would be liable, rather than the website itself.
Second-hand goods bought on the High Street are also covered, but refunds would reflect the lower value of the product.
If you require any more help regarding your consumer rights, then it is often useful to contact Citizens Advice where they can help you.