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Do you know your Consumer rights?

Posted on 22 October 2012

Find out when you are entitled to a repair, replacement or refund.

What to do when things go wrong.
When you buy any ‘goods’ such as clothes, cars, furniture or electrical items, it’s important to know your legal rights. This information will help you to understand your rights if the goods are faulty. So the next time the heel snaps off your new shoes or your sofa loses its stuffing, you’ll know what to do.

So what are your rights?
Whenever you make a purchase you enter into a contract with the trader – someone selling goods as a business such as a shop or online shop. The Sale of Goods Act gives you legal rights under that contract and states that any item you buy must be:

• Of satisfactory quality – for example, a new washing machine shouldn’t leak

• Fit for purpose – for example, if a trader says a coat is waterproof it should be

• And as described – for example, a car sold “with CD player” must have one

If it isn’t, the item is faulty and you should contact the trader as soon as possible, because you can usually get a refund, repair or replacement, depending on how long you have had the item.

This is the basic standard you should expect from all traders. But you may find some traders will offer you a better standard of customer care than the law requires as part of their customer service policy.

Home, phone or online.  You're still protected and have more rights. 
If you buy items from the Internet, over the phone, from a catalogue or on your doorstep, you have additional rights as well as your rights under the Sale of Goods Act. You can cancel your order anytime from when you place it to (normally) seven working days after the date you received the goods.

You don’t have this cancellation right for:

• Items that are personalised or made to order

• A new service that starts immediately, if you’ve been given the required information

• Perishable goods e.g. flowers

• Newspapers or magazines

• CDs, DVDs or computer software where you have broken the security seal

• Items bought at auction including online auctions like eBay

If you decide to cancel your order, you must tell the trader in writing within the cooling off period.


1. Make sure you shop around

2. Do your research on the trader

3. Be clear on what’s included in the price

4. Get any agreements in writing

5. If something goes wrong, check that you aren’t already covered by the manufacturer’s warranty or your home insurance

6. When buying an extended warranty, always shop around for the best price and remember you already have statutory rights if things go wrong

Find out more about your rights.
The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues.

Visit www.adviceguide.org.uk

or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06