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As everyday consumers of goods and services our rights are protected by Consumer Law, from poor quality and faulty goods to issues with services, our knowledgeable solicitors can help you understand your rights and the best way to move forward.
Under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended), anything you buy from a trader must be:
Under this Act, even if your guarantee has ended, you can still complain for up to six years from the date of purchase.
Any product you buy must match the description or any sample you've been shown. So if a label describes a jacket as being "100 per cent cotton", it should be exactly that. Or if you order curtains based on a swatch of fabric, the final product must match it.
This means they shouldn't have any faults, even minor ones, unless they were sold as damaged stock.
Products must also be reasonably durable. This is quite hard to define and depends on the goods. You would expect a carpet, for example, to last longer than a pair of shoes. You should normally expect electrical items, like iPods or washing machines, to last for several years.
Whatever you buy should do the job it's meant to do. So you can expect Wellington boots to keep the water out, although fashion boots might not. If you were told a new printer would work with your computer and it doesn't, then it would not have been "fit for purpose".
You can reject a faulty product and claim a full refund within a reasonable time. There's no definition for this - it will depend on the product and how much you've used it. But normally you should complain within a few weeks.
If you keep the product or carry on using it after you've discovered the fault, you might lose your right to a full refund. However, if the product was faulty when you bought it and this comes to light within six years (five years in Scotland), you can claim compensation.
You will usually get the cost of repair, or you can ask for a replacement or a repair. If this would cost too much, the shop can offer you a full or partial refund - the amount would depend on the defect and how much you've used the product. For example, you would get less for a kettle you've used every day for six months than an ice-cream maker you've only used twice.
If you find the fault within six months, the law assumes it was there when you bought the product. After six months, you might have to prove this yourself, which may mean getting an expert to examine it.
If you misuse something and break it, you won't be able to get compensation.
You don't have any rights to a refund if you just change your mind or bought the wrong size. But many shops will offer you an exchange as goodwill.
No, you just need proof of purchase for example a bank statement. The retailer also can't refuse a refund just because you've taken the product out of its packaging. If it's faulty, they are still responsible.
No, the retailer has to sort out these problems. If you buy something costing more than £100 and less than £30,000 on a credit card or a finance agreement, then the finance or card company is also jointly liable for any defects.
Yes. You are also protected by the Distance Selling Regulations if you buy something over the internet, by mail order or catalogue, digital television, phone or fax. These say that:
This should also be included in a written confirmation of your order. There are some exclusions, such as perishable goods (flowers, fresh food etc) and newspapers and magazines.
If you've hired someone to do some work, you are protected by the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. This means they must do the work:
Please be aware that this is not legal advice and if you are concerned about any of the issues mentioned you should speak to a lawyer.
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