The recent news of children’s Halloween costumes catching fire is very troubling for those of us with children at what should be a fun time of year.
It is the fact that fancy dress outfits are classed as fun toys rather than regular clothing and so not subject to the same fire safety regulations.
Good Housekeeping is campaigning to have the laws changed to make retailers more responsible for faulty products, with hopes that fancy dress attire will be measured by the BS5722 safety standard used for nightwear in the UK.
Halloween costumes have become a much bigger feature of celebrations over the last few years. Parents take for granted that their children will be safe from harm.
But what legislation is currently in place in the UK for if your costume causes an injury?
As of 1 October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 has been in place, covering everything that you buy, be it online, in shops and every contract you sign as a consumer.
What Can You Do When Something Goes Wrong?
The Consumer Rights Act now has in place a tiered remedy system for faulty goods, digital content, and services that clearly sets out your rights to a refund, repair or replacement.
Tier 1: If you discover that the goods you have purchased do not meet the purpose that they were bought for, you have 30 days in which you are entitled to reject them. You can claim a refund which must be paid to you as quickly as possible, or within 14 days of the trader agreeing that you are entitled to it.
Tier 2: If there is a breach of contract, but you choose not to exercise your right to reject goods, you can claim a repair or replacement. There must not be any cost to you for this and it must happen within a reasonable time and without inconvenience.
Tier 3: If either of the above options is unsuccessful, or not provided within a reasonable time, then you can claim a price reduction (partial or full refund) or reject the goods.
For claims against the manufacturer, there is the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
The best way to redress, should the worst happen, is to make sure that costumes are bought from reputable retailers, who are likely to take their responsibilities more seriously. The law provides strong protection for consumers where, on occasion, things go wrong.
For more information, see our product liability claims guide.
Michael Hardacre is a principal lawyer, specialising in personal injury at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.
If you would like help or advice about an injury you have suffered due to a faulty product call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.