Shoppers – Know Your Rights!

The New Year Sales is often a time to bag a bargain, but what are your rights as a shopper if what you buy is either faulty or not as expected?

Consumers have rights under the Sale of Goods Act (1979) which was strengthened under with the Consumer Rights Act (2015). But not all shoppers are aware of their rights and, more worryingly, not all shops and retailers are either – with some fobbing off customers with incorrect information!

Whether it is the New Year Sales or any other time of the year, below are some simple pointers which should help shoppers if they end up with faulty goods:

  1. The Golden Rule – this is the principle enshrined in legislation and forms the basis of shoppers’ rights – ‘The item purchased should be of satisfactory quality, as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time.’
  2. Do I need the receipt if the item purchased is faulty – having the receipt makes life easier all round, but as long as you have evidence of purchase (eg bank statement, credit card bill) that is enough for you to demand a refund on faulty goods.
  3. You’ve changed your mind and don’t like what you have bought – if the goods are not faulty, then the shop does not have to refund or replace. However, many shops will have their own sales policy which will give you a credit note or exchange for something else.
  4. I’ve bought second hand or reconditioned, but the item is faulty – the ‘Golden Rule’ rights still applies, and you are entitled to a refund. However, if a fault had been pointed out to the purchaser at the point of sale, then it would be sold as seen and there would be no entitlement to a refund.
  5. The goods must have the original tag or box – If the goods are faulty and do not satisfy the Golden Rule, then you are entitled to a refund tag or no tag, box or no box. If you are looking to exchange, then it is subject to the stores own sales policy (which may insist on tags and boxes).
  6. Time Limits – a) you can get a refund up to 30 days from when you bought the product, or opt for repair or replacement if you prefer; b) You can still get a repair or refund after six months, but the seller has the right to deduct some money for the use you’ve had from the product; c) You’ll also have to prove that it was faulty when you got it.

More information at:

WHICH Consumer Rights

Havering Council Trading Standards

On-Line Shopping Rights

Cllr Clarence Barrett


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