What are my consumer rights?
Do you know what the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is? This act protects you in almost every purchase you make in the UK, not only for products but also for services. Latest Deal is here to help you understand your rights as a customer when you buy something online or in-store.
What is the Consumer Rights Act 2015?
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, be as described and last a reasonable length of time. Digital products, services, contracts and builders are also included in this act. You can read more about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 here.
- Products must be of satisfactory quality
When you buy a product, this must be in perfect condition when you receive it. If not, you are in your rights to ask for a refund.
IMPORTANT NOTE: It's essential to keep in mind that the more expensive the product, the more quality you can expect. If you are buying a cheap product, the quality standard will be lower.
- Products must be fit for purpose
When you buy a product, this must fit its purpose, so if you can't use it for what it was sold for, you are in your rights to ask for a refund.
- Products must be as described
When you buy a product, there is usually a description to explain the product and its parts. When you open the package, the product must follow the description. Otherwise, you are in your rights to ask for a refund.
- Products must last a reasonable length of time
When you buy a product, this must last a reasonable length of time. This length of time will change depending on the product.
How to make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act
You have different ways to claim under the Consumer Rights Act, depending on the sellers' return policy.
If you bought the product online, you can reach out to the store’s customer service. Usually, there is a phone number or an email address available. Read our guide about how to ask for a refund.
If you bought the product in-store, you need to go back to the store and talk to their customer service in person.
The most important point to make a claim and get a refund is to know how long you have to return a faulty product.
How long do you have to return a faulty product?
- 0 to 30 days
You can claim a full refund if the product is of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. Cars do not apply to this rule.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can ask for a repair or replacement as well, but the retailer cannot deny you a full refund.
This doesn't apply to products you have downloaded, such as music, games or apps. If there are any problems with your downloaded product, you can ask for a repair or replacement.
Depending on the online store you have bought your downloaded product, you might be able to get a refund, but only if the purchase was made by mistake.
- 30 days to six months
The retailer has the right to try to repair or replace the product before you can claim a full refund.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can claim a full refund if an attempt of repair or replacement has failed, is impossible or will cause inconvenience. In addition, you can also make a refund claim if the cost of the repair or replacement is more expensive than the product.
- Six months and more
The retailer has the right to try to repair or replace the product before you can claim a refund.
At this point, the retailer is not obligated to give you a full refund, being allowed to make deductions from your refund.
IMPORTANT NOTE: After six months, you need to prove that the product was the problem, not that you have been misusing it.
The quicker you complain about a faulty product, the more chance you have to get it repaired, replaced or refunded.
7 Things to know about consumer rights
- If you are not happy with a product or a service, make sure you complain right away, don't wait for the 30 days timeframe. The quicker you complain, the more chances you have to get it resolved.
- If you are buying something as a gift, make sure you let the store know, then the person who received the gift can return the present without problems.
- It doesn't matter if you buy online or in-store; you have the same consumer rights. Just make sure you are aware of the stores' policies for purchases online and in-store.
- Always keep your purchase's receipts for at least six months. If you want to throw away the printed proof, take a photo or a copy and maintain a digital version, even more, if it's a big purchase, such as a laptop, for example.
- Some stores will give you a longer time frame to return an unwanted product. Make sure you check their return's policies before purchasing an item.
- Fresh food, flowers, personalised goods, some leisure services, newspapers and magazines, medical products, financial products and others have different consumer rights, and their return depends on the stores' return policies.
- If you are returning a faulty product, you have 14 days to get your money back.
IMPORTANT NOTE: A claim under the Consumer Rights Act is against the retailer and not the manufacturer.
Some products are possible to be returned; others aren't, so you need to read the store's return policy first.
To return a product and get it refunded, you usually need to keep proof of purchase. This proof of purchase needs to show the date you bought it, how much you paid for it and how you paid for it. In some cases, even if you don’t have the proof of purchase, you can still ask for a refund using your bank statement, for example.
Understanding Products Warranty
Depending on the type of product you buy, it might come with a warranty. Electronics and home appliances usually come with a warranty. The warranty can be given by the manufacturer or by the retailer.
There are two types of warranties, a full and a limited warranty. With the first one, if the product shows any problem, you can get it repaired or replaced during the warranty period. With the second, you can only get repaired or replaced parts of the product or specific problems.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before claiming for a repair or replacement during the warranty period, it's essential to notice who to contact, either the manufacturer or the retailer and what type of warranty is available to you.
Understanding the 14-day cooling-off period
The 14-day cooling-off period is the least number of days that you have the chance to change your mind about a product or service. This counts from the day you made the purchase, not from the date you receive it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can only use this 14-day cooling-off period if you haven't made the purchase in person and if the purchase is not personalised.
Consumer rights for Services
If you are hiring for a service, such as home improvement, entertainment, cleaning, accountant, and others, you have some rights: care and skills, reasonable price, and time.
Before hiring their services, make sure you have a contract with them. You must have information about what type of service will be provided in the agreement, how long it will take to get it done, and how much you are paying for it.
If the service doesn't have a time frame to be completed or the final amount to be paid, this must be pointed out in the contract. Also, a reasonable price and time must be given.
If you are not happy with them after the services are concluded, you have the right to get them fixed. The trader must redo the work without any extra charge. If the work can't be redone, you can get a price reduction. The trader must refund within 14 days after agreeing with the refund.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The price reduction needs to be negotiated between the trader and you. If you are complaining about home improvements and couldn't get a resolution directly with the trader, you can reach out to The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman.
Consumer Rights for Digital Products
Digital products have similar consumer rights as physical products, but you won't get a full refund if they are faulty. However, you can get them repaired and replaced, and in some cases, a percentage is refunded.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Depending on the store's policy, you might get a full refund. For example, on Amazon Kindle Store, you can cancel accidentally bought e-books within seven days of purchase.
Consumer Rights for Deliveries
We have a complete guide explaining your rights about deliveries. You have a default period of 30 days to receive your delivery. If you don't, you might be able to get a full refund, depending on your case.
Consumer rights for Travel Services
Consumer rights for Unfair Contract Terms and Conditions
The Consumer Rights Act protects you against unfair contract terms and conditions. For example, if you have been charged for hidden, disproportionate and excessive early termination fees, you can make a claim.
- First, go to the trader, and complain directly to their customer service. Learn here how to complain about broadband.
- If that doesn't work, you can reach out to Citizens Advice to get more information on how to claim your consumer rights. You can find more information about Citizens Advice here.
- Citizens Advice might suggest you go to the Ombudsman if that's available for your case. There are different types of Ombudsman Services. You need to find the right one for your claim. Read here how to complain to the Ombudsman Services. You can also use another mediation organisation that works on the type of complaint you are making. Here are some.
- If that also doesn't work, you can go to a small claims court.Learn more about how to make a small claim.