What are your rights if you purchase faulty Christmas presents?

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A guide to your rights and how The Consumer Rights Act 2015 protects you

In the UK billions of pounds are spent each month by consumers, and whilst the methods of purchasing may have changed (moving more online) in recent years, you still need to know what your rights are if things do not go as planned.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

The most important piece of consumer legislation that you need to know of is The Consumer Rights Act 2015 which came into force on the 1st October 2015. It’s principal aim was to simplify when you as a consumer can claim a refund for faulty goods and when you have to give the supplier a chance to put things right.

The Act deals with 3 areas, goods or services purchased at the point of sale (e.g. you buy something in a shop); goods and services purchased online and digital content sold online.

When you buy something either in a shop or online you are entitled to expect that the goods are:

  • Of satisfactory quality;
  • Be fit for a particular purpose;
  • Match the description, sample or model (if appropriate); and
  • Be installed correctly.

If you discover a fault within 30 days then you have an automatic right to reject the goods and get your money back. You can elect to have a repair carried out if you wish, but that is your choice and the 30 day time for rejection is paused whilst the repair is carried out.

If you discover the fault after 30 days but within 6 months of the date of purchase then it is assumed the fault was there when the goods were bought and the retailer has to offer a repair or replacement (and you have to give them one chance to do this). If the item cannot be repaired or replaced then you are entitled to your money back. Please note that if the item purchased was a car then you may not be entitled to all of your money back as the car will have been used by you for a period of time.

At any time up to 6 years from the date of purchase you may be entitled to some money back if the goods do not last as long as expected and they have been used in a reasonable way.

Goods bought online

For goods that are bought online, The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 provides protection also, and in most cases, if you change your mind about wanting the goods, you can seek a full refund within 14 days of receipt. For goods bought in a shop you have no automatic right to reject them just because you have changed your mind.

When you purchase a service either in a place of business or online you can expect that the service is:

  • Carried out with reasonable care and skill;
  • Be done for a reasonable price;
  • Be carried out within a reasonable time; and
  • Any information said or written to a customer is binding when the customer relies on it.

If the service is not carried out with reasonable care and skill you are entitled to ask for a repeat or a fix. If it can’t be fixed you should be entitled to some money back.

If you haven’t agreed a price or a timescale beforehand then the price charged and the time taken must be reasonable and, if it is not you may be entitled to withhold some payment.

In relation to services ordered online, in most cases you can cancel within 14 days. If you have agreed that the service can start within the 14 day period then you may be charged for what you have used. If you buy digital content the goods must be:

  • Of satisfactory quality;
  • Fit for purpose; and
  • As described.

Digital goods are anything such as computer games or virtual items bought within those games, films, books or apps that are bought for your smart device.

If they are not as they should be you have the right to a repair or replacement. If the fault cannot be fixed or if it has not been fixed within a reasonable time or the repair causes you significant inconvenience you can get some or all of your money back. In addition, if you can show the fault has damaged your device and that was the fault of the supplier you may be entitled to a repair or compensation.

As with other online purchases you have a right to change your mind and get a full refund within 14 days. If you have started the download you lose this right, provided you have been told about it.

If you have bought faulty goods or services or if you are a retailer and would like to learn more please contact the Dispute Resolution Team at Hunt & Coombs on 01733 882800 or email [email protected].

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