What You Should Know About Consumer Rights

Consumer rights are an important form of protection when you purchase goods and services. Up until 2015, UK consumer rights were outlined in 3 pieces of legislation: the Sales of Goods Act, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations and the Supply of Goods & Services Act.

However, with the dramatic rise in the number of goods and services bought online and the purchase of digital content, it was felt that all the legislation had to be streamlined and modernised. As a result, the Consumer Rights Act became law in October 2015, and was amended in 2016 to include travel services as well.

What is the Consumer Rights Act of 2015?

The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 stipulates that any goods or services should be:

  • of satisfactory quality – not damaged or defective and satisfactory as any reasonable person would expect,
  • fit for purpose – be used for the general purpose as advertised, or for a specific purpose as explained to the retailer before buying,
  • as described – they should match any samples or models shown to the consumer before buying.

According to the Act, your complaint is with the retailer who sold it to you, and not with the manufacturer. You have different options about returning goods depending on how much time has elapsed since you took physical possession of the goods. In the case of goods which are sent, this counts from the delivery date and not the order date.

Questions on consumer rights

What are your consumer rights?

In general, consumer rights regard those rights with respect to the purchase of goods or services. One of the two most basic rights is the right to safety, meaning the protection from dangerous goods or services. The second most basic right regards the right to be informed, meaning that information must be available as a requirement when presenting or advertising goods for sale. The prohibition of false advertising is also covered by this right.

What does the Consumer Rights Act protect?

According to the Consumer Rights Act of 2015, the law protects your consumer rights in the UK when you purchase goods or services. There are contacts in case you need consumer protection advice depending on the type of your inquiry. You are able to get assistance if required when you are treated unfairly or when something goes wrong with your purchases.

What are my statutory rights for a refund?

The Consumer Right Act of 2015 introduced the provision for consumers to be able to request a full refund for a product or service within 30 days of the purchasing date. Previously, there had to be a claim with respect to the malfunction or misinformation of a product for a buyer to be able to request a refund.

What are my consumer rights on returning goods?

For most goods, you have a 30-day right to reject when you can return the product and receive a full refund.

A woman is shown shopping online

After this 30-day window is over, you aren’t legally entitled to a full refund (although some retailers may choose to do so). If it develops a fault, you might have a personal preference about what you want done, but the retailer has the final say. They can choose to either repair or replace the goods once. If this attempt is unsuccessful, then you’re entitled to a full refund or price reduction. In certain circumstances, a full or partial refund might be the only option. For example, if repair is impossible or would take too long.

For most goods, you have 30 days to return the product for a full refund

In the first 6 months after you take ownership of goods, it is presumed that the fault has always been present. However, after 6 months, the onus is on you to prove that the fault had always been there. To do so would require expert testimony or evidence of malfunction affecting a certain model or production batch.

You have 6 years after purchase (5 years in the case of Scotland) to pursue the matter in the small claims court if the retailer refuses to settle your complaint to your satisfaction. Digital content (including free apps or downloads) must meet the same criteria as all other goods. If repair or replacement isn’t possible, you’re entitled to a price reduction. Your consumer rights also allow for compensation if any digital content damages any electronic device.

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