Christmas spending – your rights as a consumer

This can be an expensive time of year and even in, or possibly because of, the current difficult circumstances, it is likely that many people will be spending a significant sum on presents.  You will have seen signs saying that shops cannot exclude your “statutory rights”, so what are these?

An Act of Parliament came into force on 1st October 2015 called the Consumer Rights Act, which relates to the supply of goods.  It sets out a timetable for consumers’ rights to be exercised including:-

  • A 30 day right to reject defective products and the right to a full refund from the date of purchase.  For perishable goods this will be shorter.
  • Outside the 30 day period the purchaser has the right to give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace the goods. If repair would be too costly the retailer can opt to replace the item instead.  If repairs or replacement aren’t appropriate, the purchaser can opt for a full or partial refund.
  • From 30 days to 6 months after purchase it is presumed that any fault was there from the time of delivery, and it would be for the supplier to prove otherwise.  The purchaser can opt for a repair or replacement, and refund if that fails.  A reduced refund may apply to vehicles because of use made during the period.
  • After 6 months the onus is on the consumer to prove the product was faulty at the time of delivery.
  • The Act for the first time specifically covered digital content which must (as with other non-digital products) be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described.  A claim can be made for faulty digital content to be repaired, replaced or refunded.  A consumer can also claim damages against the retailer if the faulty content has damaged other devices or programmes.The law relating to Unfair Contract Terms was updated, making it easier to challenge such terms which lack good faith, hide charges in small print, limit legal rights or inflict excessive termination charges.  There are 20 examples of such terms set out in a schedule to the Act.The Act also introduces a duty on letting agents to publicise details of the fees they impose for certain services.

    For further information please contact Paul McGrath by email at or call 01473 255591.

    This article provides only a general summary and is not intended to be comprehensive.  Specialist legal advice should be taken in any individual situation.

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