We’ve all had times where we’ve bought something we’re not happy with. Maybe it’s a dress that doesn’t fit, cheese that’s mouldy out the pack or a cracked paint job.
But when can we get our money back and when can we not? It’s safe to say that most of us leave it up to the retailer or service provider. However, we often have more consumer power than we thought. As of 1 October 2015 new laws have been passed that give even more protection.
We want to help you understand the consumer laws, so here’s our guide to your rights when buying goods and services.
If the goods you bought are: broken, damaged, unusable, not what was advertised, or not matching the seller’s description then you may be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement.
It doesn’t matter whether you bought the item new or secondhand – you still have rights. Don’t be fooled if the store tells you that you need a receipt, either – all you need to give them is proof of purchase, which could be a credit card bill or bank statement.
Be aware, though, that you won’t be able to get anything back if:
- It’s been over 30 days since you bought it
- It was damaged by wear and tear, an accident or misuse
- You knew about the fault before you bought the item
- You’ve just changed your mind
Most shops will give refunds no questions asked if the items are relatively new. Legally speaking you can ask a shop for repairs or replacement for up to six years! But after six months you’ll have to prove the item was faulty on the day of purchase, which can be tricky.
If a shop refuses you, you could consider reporting them to your local Trading Standards department. This should usually settle the issue, but if not, you may take the issue to an ombudsman.
You also have protection against buying faulty digital goods. This includes apps, eBooks and online films or TV shows – basically any product that exists on a computer, phone or tablet.
Just like real world goods, digital ones must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described by the seller. If it’s within 30 days, the seller is allowed one chance to repair or replace the goods before you can get a refund.
You can choose whether you’d prefer a repair or replacement, but it will usually depend on the product. You can get a full or partial refund if:
- The cost to repair/replace is way more than the value of the good
- A repair or replacement is impossible
- A repair or replacement would be significantly inconvenient
- The repair would take unreasonably long
- Repair/replacement has already been unsuccessful
You have these rights for any digital content you’ve paid for, whether that’s with money, gift cards or credits. The rights also extend to free goods that come with bought ones, like a free video app that’s essential for using an online film subscription.
You’ll also have rights if something you’ve downloaded damages your device or other files on your device, for example if you get a virus. As long as you can show it’s the seller’s fault you can claim costs for any damage done.
Finally, if you buy a product and decide not to download it right away, there’s a 14 day period during which time you can cancel your download. Be aware that this right is waived as soon as you hit download.
Poorly performed services
Since the new laws in October 2015 we now have concrete protection against receiving poorly performed services. New rules mean that now:
- Services must be performed with reasonable care and skill
- Any info provided is binding where you’ve relied on it
- If the price isn’t agreed, the service must be carried out at a reasonable price
- The service must be carried out in a reasonable time
If you feel that these rules haven’t been met, you may now:
- Ask for the service to be redone to the point where standard are met – this must be done within a reasonable time and without causing you significant inconvenience
- Where this is impossible, claim up to 100% refund depending on how poor the work was
YOU ALSO HAVE PROTECTION AGAINST UNFAIR CONTRACT TERMS. AS OF OCTOBER 2015 ANY KEY TERMS OF A SERVICE CONTRACT MAY BE CHALLENGED AS UNFAIR IF THEY WERE NOT MADE OBVIOUS ENOUGH.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is accurate as of 30/10/2015. The content is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as legal advice. You may have to contact a solicitor if you require any more detailed information. Source: (will add source)