Most things we buy, whether we’re looking at the weekly grocery shop, or a brand- new television, cause few problems. However, if an issue does arrive with goods you’ve bought, sometimes the guarantees can let you down.
It’s a good idea to properly understand your consumer rights before something goes wrong. For example, if you want to return something, you may not be aware of whether you’re entitled to a replacement, refund, credit note or repair. It’s not always possible to rely on the advice from retailers.
Returns and refunds
If you’ve bought something from a high street shop and you want to return it in exchange for a refund, your consumer rights are not always clear. Some shops might refuse returns and refunds, and only offer a credit note rather than cash.
Goods bought on the high street must legally be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, last a reasonable amount of time and be as described, under the Sales of Goods Act 1979 and the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This applies to sale items as well as those not on sale.
If your product is broken or faulty then you might be entitled to claim a repair, replacement, refund or price reduction. However, if you’ve just changed your mind and don’t want it anymore, you have no legal right to return.
Many high street stores have their own returns policy, and are entitled to only offer a credit note rather than cash refund.
What rights you have as a consumer are dictated by the legislation, and will include timescales on returning faulty goods. You should also make sure you find out what your rights are to get a product repaired and what your rights are should the retailer refuse to provide a replacement, repair or refund.
Depending on the value of the product in question, getting legal advice can be a good idea. There are various steps that must be taken to prove a product hasn’t been rendered faulty by wear and tear, for example.
What if a shop goes bust?
In 2017, it’s common for familiar and traditional brands to disappear from the high street, often with not much warning. A shop going into administration can be stressful for consumers who are waiting on goods already ordered and paid for, or have gift certificates they can’t use.
When a shop goes into administration, it’s then the administrator’s decision about whether customers will receive pre-ordered goods and whether gift vouchers will be accepted or reimbursed.
However, you have different rights if you bought on a credit or debit card – you might be able to claim for goods that cost more than £100 on a credit card under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
You will need to contact the administrator to get the ball rolling, and see if you can get your money back.