There’s no better time to learn about how to protect your money than at Christmas time. On Christmas day alone, shoppers spend an estimated £1 billion online. That’s before you take into consideration the purchasing of gifts in the run up to the big day and the money we spend in post-Christmas sales. Many of us will spend hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds every year in the festive period.
We know that the last thing you want at this time of year is a fuss. You’re busy preparing Christmas dinner and up to your eyeballs in wrapping paper. But if something goes wrong with something you’ve bought, you have rights as a consumer and you should action them.
The best way to prepare for this is to learn what your rights are in advance. That way, you’ll know exactly what to do if something goes wrong.
To help you, here are the best ways to protect your consumer rights this Christmas.
- Remember that you can return products, even if you don’t have a receipt.
Did you know that retailers are under no obligation to give you a receipt? You do now! So how can they refuse to refund you if you don’t produce one? They can’t. Instead, they can ask you for proof of purchase, which could be a bank or credit card statement.
- Remember that you do not have to take faulty items back to the manufacturer.
Have you ever returned a broken item to the shop you bought it from, only to be told that you must return it to the manufacturer, who then tell you that you need to take it to the shop you bought it from, and so on? This is an overwhelmingly irritating problem and it happens more than you would realise. We’ll settle this for you, once and for all. When you buy something, your contract is with the retailer. If your item is faulty or unfit for purpose, the retailer is obligated to refund you or replace your item. They can go back to the manufacturer if they want to, but they must fulfill their contract with you.
- Forget the idea that you can only have a refund if you return an item within the first thirty days
This isn’t true. If a fault appears in something you bought within the first six months, then legislation determines that the fault was likely there when the product was purchased and you’re entitled to a refund.
- Remember that you can return sale items.
When you purchase an item, you enter into a contractual agreement with the retailer. This agreement is the same whether you buy an item that is full price or in the sale.
The only time you might ever be legitimately refused a return on a sale item is if you purchased a sale item with a fault and were told about that fault when you bought it.
- Remember that you can ask for a refund if your items are late.
Retailers have 30 days to deliver your items to you, but if they promised you Christmas delivery and your items didn’t arrive in time, you have the right to request a refund.
- Remember that you can return a product that’s faulty even after six months have passed.
If your product is faulty and six months have passed since you purchased it, you can still request a refund from the retailer, but the burden of proof is on you to prove that the fault was there when you bought it.
You might have to get an expert report or opinion. Perhaps you can prove that there are similar problems across a product range. If you can prove that an item you purchased was faulty when you bought it, you’re entitled to a refund no matter how much time has passed.
- Remember that your retailer has a duty to give you products that last a reasonable amount of time.
Manufacturers warranties are useful and helpful if your product breaks within a year, but even if that time has passed, you still enjoy rights under Sales of Goods legislation. This gives you the right to bring an action against a retailer for up to six years.
You must take into account the expected normal working life of a product, of course. You can’t complain if your laptop stops working after six years, for example, but a brand new car you bought and took care of? That’s different.
The law is there to protect you and your money. If you’ve purchased something and you have the right to return it and seek a refund, you are entitled to do this. Christmas is expensive and every penny counts. Make sure your making the most of your consumer rights that are there to protect you.
And from everyone at JMR Solicitors, happy shopping.
For more information on the law and how it affects you, visit our blog page.
If you need more information about your rights as a consumer, get in touch with JMR Solicitors on 0161 491 3933 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org