Consumer rights when buying goods
When you buy goods from a business the law states that they should be -
- of satisfactory quality - if you have bought goods and they are faulty or develop a fault which is not down to wear and tear, misuse or accidental damage you should be able to make a complaint to the business who supplied them to you. If you have bought the goods knowing they have a particular fault you will struggle to complain about this fault at a later date
- fit for their purpose - any goods you buy should do what they were sold to do
- as described - what you buy should match any description applied to it. For example if you order and pay for a car with power steering and when it arrives it has no power steering you have grounds for complaint
If the goods you have bought don’t meet these standards you are legally entitled to ask for either -
- a refund - if you return the goods within a short space of time you are entitled to reject them and ask for a refund. You don’t have to accept a repair, replacement or a credit note
- a repair/replacement - if you have had the goods for a few weeks and the business can repair the goods within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience, this may be a reasonable solution. If a repair is not possible or would cost more than you paid for the goods, you may be offered either a replacement item (which should be of the same or a similar standard to the one returned) or refund. Any refund offered may be reduced to take account of the use you have had of the goods.
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide if a problem with goods is due to their being faulty or due to wear and tear or damage. If you return faulty goods within six months of purchase and ask for either a repair or a replacement it will be up to the business who supplied the goods to show that they are not faulty.
However if you are asking for a refund or you are returning the goods after six months the business can ask you to provide evidence that they are faulty.
Legally there is no obligation on a business to take back goods which have been bought in error or are just unwanted.
Some businesses have ‘returns’ policies in place which allow unwanted goods to be returned. These policies can vary so if you are buying something as a gift or something you haven’t tried on, you should check whether or not the item/s can be taken back and if so what you will be entitled to.
Any returns policy is in addition to the rights you will have as a consumer if you have been supplied with goods which are faulty, mis-described or not fit for their purpose.
If you have bought goods over the internet, by mail order, over the phone, or from a doorstep seller, you may have the right to cancel the contract and return unwanted goods. If you are unsure of your rights you can contact us.
If you return goods to a business they may ask to see your receipt to check not only that you bought the goods from them but also when you bought them and how much you paid for them. If you have bought faulty goods and you haven’t got your receipt don’t panic. If you paid by cheque, debit or credit card you should be able to get a statement as proof of purchase. Unfortunately if you paid by cash and you can’t prove you bought the goods from them they don’t have to do anything for you.
Non-arrival of goods
Generally speaking if you are buying goods and it is important that they are delivered promptly you should make it clear to the business that if they are not available on the date you have agreed you will be asking for your money back so you can go elsewhere. Make sure that this is noted on your paperwork. If you do this you are making ‘time of the essence’ in your contract and if the goods are not delivered in time it will be easier for you to get your money back.
If you do not make ‘time of the essence’ and there is a delay in the goods being supplied you could struggle to get your money back. If you are in this situation and want advice on what you can do please contact us.
If you have ordered goods over the internet, by mail order, over the phone, or from a doorstep seller you may have the right to cancel the contract. If you are unsure of your rights you can contact us.
Guarantees and warranties
Guarantees and warranties may be given by a business or a manufacturer or they can be bought as a means of extra protection or as an insurance in case problems are experienced.
In a consumer transaction any rights you may have under a guarantee or warranty will be in addition to the rights you are have under Sale of Goods and Supply of Goods and Services legislation.
Guarantees and warranties are subject to the terms and conditions on which they are supplied so its important you ask for details of the protection they offer before you decide to buy one, or before you agree to ‘contract’ with a business who is using a free guarantee or warranty to tempt you to buy from them.