These three key consumer rights mean you are better protected than ever before when shopping.
If an item you purchased has recently packed in or was simply not as described when it arrived, the good news is you’re better protected than ever before.
In fact, you could get a refund on a faulty item up to six years after you bought it.
It’s all thanks to three vital, but not widely known, consumer rights: Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, the Consumer Rights Act and the Sale of Goods Act.
We look at what each one means when it comes to shopping.
Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act
If you are planning to buy something, you should always use a credit card.
That’s because you get additional protections compared to paying by debit card or cash.
Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you can claim costs from your credit card company If the goods or service you paid for are not up to scratch.
So, for example, if a supplier sends you faulty goods but has since gone out of business. It may be impossible to get a refund from the supplier, but you can pursue your credit card company for redress instead.
Note that Section 75 only applies to purchases of at least £100 and no more than £30,000.
Read more about how you’re protected in our guide to Section 75 and how it can help you.
The Consumer Rights Act
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on October 2015.
Along with giving rights greater protection overall, it is also the first to cover the sale of digital content as well as specific rules for rights in relation to services.
So, for example, this means you have the right to demand a working version of faulty digital content, whether that is granted to you via repair or replacement, or to a refund without undue delay.
You also have the right to receive services that are performed with “reasonable care and skill” at all times.
If the service provided is not up to scratch or performed as agreed, you can demand it be carried out again and within a reasonable time.
Crucially, they are not allowed to charge you for this repeated service.
The Consumer Act also has clearer rules on faulty goods. It states you are entitled to a 30-day period from the date of purchase to return goods that are of unsatisfactory quality.
To learn more about how you’re protected, read our guide to the Consumer Rights Act.
Sale of Goods Act
The 1979 Sale of Goods Act is fairly complicated, but it can offer vital protection on older purchases.
For example, it gives you the right to free repairs or refunds on certain items for up to six years after your made the purchase, provided you purchased the goods on or before 30 September 2015 (later purchases are covered under the aforementioned Consumer Rights Act).
It gets complicated because the act merely states that the item in question should reasonably be expected to last that long, leaving it open to interpretation.
So while you might be able to make an argument for your pricey fridge to be expected to work for many years, it would be more difficult to make the same case for a kettle.
The confusion is hardly helped by shops misinforming customers.
An investigation by consumer group Which? found many high street shops were misleading customers over their legal obligation to repair or replace faulty goods for up to six years.
To learn more, read our guide to the Sale of Goods Act.
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