What are your rights?

28th Nov 2017

With Christmas fast approaching and our holidays in the summer becoming a distant memory, we are all now considering the expensive task of buying Christmas presents. Not only can it be a difficult task actually choosing the gifts, what happens if we get that choice wrong, they don’t work or quickly break?

Retail and Manufacturing

When the Consumer Rights Act 2015 became law in October 2015, it was introduced to simplify, strengthen and modernise the law, giving us clearer shopping rights. The Act gives the legal right to reject goods that are of:-

  1. Unsatisfactory quality or
  2. Unfit for purpose or
  3. Not as described.

If this applies, you can obtain a full refund – as long as it is done quickly.

This right is limited to 30 days from the date the product is bought. After this period, you are not legally entitled to a full refund if the item develops a fault, although some sellers may offer an extended refund period especially over the Christmas period. In fact, you should ask for this.

If what has been bought does not satisfy any the above criteria, you have a claim under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. There are several ways of resolving the issue, which depend on, for example, on how you want the retailer to remedy the situation. Your rights under the Act are against the retailer that sold you the product, although you may have other rights against the manufacturer but not under the Act.

If the item was bought over 30 days ago, the retailer has one opportunity to repair or replace any goods or digital content which are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. You can state your preference, but the retailer can normally choose whichever would be cheapest or easier for it to do. If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can then claim a refund or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product

If a fault is discovered within six months of buying the product, it is presumed to have been there since the time of purchase – unless the retailer can prove otherwise. During this time, it’s up to the retailer to prove that the fault wasn’t there when you bought it – it’s not up to you to prove that it was.

If a fault develops after the first six months, the burden is on the purchaser to prove that the product was faulty at the time of delivery. In practice, this may require some form of expert report, opinion or evidence of similar problems across the product range.

Digital content

The Act defines digital content as ‘data which are produced and supplied in digital form.’

Just like goods, digital content must be:

  1. Of satisfactory quality.
  2. Fit for a particular purpose.
  3. As described by the seller.

If digital content does not conform to these criteria, you have the right to a repair or replacement of the digital content you’ve bought.

But if a repair or replacement isn’t possible, or doesn’t fix the situation, you can ask for a price reduction. This can be up to 100% of the cost of the digital content.

The retailer will also have to compensate you if any device or other digital content you own is damaged as a result of the faulty digital content you’ve downloaded.

This applies where that damage would not have occurred had ‘reasonable care and skill’ been exercised in the provision of the digital content – even if that content was provided free of charge.

Late deliveries

There is a default delivery period of 30 days, during which the retailer needs to deliver unless a longer period has been agreed.

If the retailer fails to deliver within the 30 days, or on the date that has been agreed, you can do the following:

  1. If your delivery is later than agreed and it was essential that it was delivered on time, then you have the right to terminate the purchase and get a full refund.
  2. If the delivery isn’t time-essential but another reasonable delivery time can’t be agreed, you’re also within your right to cancel the order for a full refund.

If the retailer proves troublesome it is possible to get a refund through the credit card company under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Under Section 75, your credit card company is jointly liable for any breach of contract by the company. If a card was used to buy the product then contact the credit card company.

You should also look out for Unfair Terms

Some examples of terms that may be unfair under the Act include:

  1. Fees and charges hidden in the small print.
  2. Wording that tries to limit your legal right.
  3. Disproportionate default charges
  4. Excessive early termination charges.