Monday, 11 June 2012

Consumer rights are not what I thought

I read a good article today, which I assume is correct although you do have to be careful with what you read on the Internet.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/apr/17/consumer-rights-refunds

It states that the consumer rights we now have are very confusing.  If the article is correct the rights we have in the UK are not exactly as I understood.  The summary of your rights is at the end of the article and to further summarise and simplify  those that I did not fully appreciate:

  • Refund - Up to 30 days if the goods are 'Not fit for purpose' or other similar fault.
  • Repair or Replace - Up to 6 months unless the retailer can prove it was not faulty when purchased.
  • Burden of proof changes after 6 months - Customer has to prove the fault was present when purchased.
  • Up to 2 years in Continental Europe and up to 6 years in the UK you can still make a claim for a repair or a replacement as long as you can prove the fault was always present and that the expectation for the life of the item is reasonable.
  • In some cases the retailer is entitled to pay compensation instead of offering a repair or replacement.
The dates are not as fixed as I have implied above but they are the guideline periods which may or may not, be or become, part of some more confusing legislation in the past or future!

The things I already knew:

  • A warranty is something extra that the manufacturer offers.  It does not in any way limit your statutory rights in the UK.
  • You do not need any of the packaging if returning something as faulty.
  • Proof of purchase means any proof, a bank statement or credit card statement is just as valid as the till receipt.
  • 7 day cooling off period for anything bought online or mail order. You can ask for your money back.  May go up to 14 days with EU directive.
  • You do not have any other rights to return stuff just because you don't want it.  That is up to the retailer and typically they insisit on all the original packaging.
  • Credit card purchases over £100 have additional rights from the credit card companies.

If you need to prove you have the above rights you probably need to read and understand the following UK regulations and some European ones as well:
  • The Sale of Goods Act 1979
  • Supply of Goods (implied terms) Act 1979
  • Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982
  • Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002
Most people would probably need a lawyer if they get in to that level of dispute!

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