Consumer advice

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Anything you buy must be:

  • of satisfactory quality - goods must not be faulty unless any faults have been pointed out to you when you bought them
  • fit for purpose - the product must be able to do what it was sold to do and anything the seller says it will do
  • as described on the package or display sign - for example, if you buy a food product with a label stating it is 100% fat free, then that is what you should get.

If the goods do not meet these standards, you are entitled to reject them and get your money back providing they are returned within a ‘reasonable’ period, normally a few weeks. You do not have to accept a repair, credit note or replacement although you may want to consider this if you have had the goods for some time.

You also have the right to require that the seller repairs or replaces the goods within a reasonable time and without causing you minimal inconvenience. If this would be:

  • impossible or disproportionate - for example, the cost of a repair would be more than you paid for the item, or
  • the retailer does not repair or replace without inconvenience within a reasonable period.

You can require that they reduce the price of the goods by an appropriate amount or cancel the contract.

Some retailers may argue that any fault is a result of you damaging the goods. In this case you would need to prove this is not the case, possibly by obtaining an independent expert opinion. You might have to prove your case in Court. If you have to pay for an expert opinion, you can claim the cost of this as well as the refund if your claim is successful.

What are my rights if I am provided with poor service?

When you purchase a service such as having a car repaired or paying a builder to carry out work, you are legally entitled to certain minimum standards of service. The service should be carried out:

  • with reasonable care and skill
  • within a reasonable time
  • for a reasonable price - providing the cost was not agreed beforehand.

If these requirements are not met, you may be able to sue the trader for compensation. If the person or organisation is a member of a trade association or other professional body, you can also complain to them.

Where can I get further advice?

You will find useful information on our Trading standards webpages.

The Citizens Advice consumer service provides free, confidential and impartial advice on consumer issues. Visit the Advice Guide webpages or call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06. If you wish to report a Trading Standards concern, you should do through the Citizens Advice consumer service who will then refer it to the Trading Standards team. 

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