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Old 14-09-2009, 12:29   #1
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Five consumer laws you really ought to know

Decent article from the beeb:
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Old 14-09-2009, 18:07   #2
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Interesting, perhaps it should be a sticky ? Anyhow, I've edited slightly, and pasted relevant info below (including some user comments).

The Sale of Goods Act says that your MP3 player must be fit for purpose.

"It must be as described. It must be of satisfactory quality, sufficiently durable, free from any defects," says Dr Christian Twigg-Flesner, a consumer law expert at the University of Hull.

If you've ignored the manufacturer's warnings and have been leaving the player out in direct sunshine and wearing it in the bath, then you probably haven't got much of a case.

But if the player has been lovingly treated and has still conked out that suggests something may have been wrong with it at the very beginning.

It works like this. For the first four-five weeks you have a "right of rejection" - if the item you've bought breaks down, you can demand a refund.

For the next six months, you are entitled to replacement or repair of the goods. It is up to the retailer to prove there was nothing wrong with it if they wish to get out of having to do the work. And then after six months, there is still a duty to replace or repair faulty goods, but the onus is on you, the consumer, to prove that there was something wrong.

And the key time span is six years. That's how long goods may be covered by the Sale of Goods Act. It all depends on what "sufficiently durable" means. If a light bulb goes after 13 months, the consumer is not going to be overly gutted. If their washing machine goes after the same time span they are going to be livid.

The government's guidelines say: "Goods are of satisfactory quality if they reach the standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory, taking into account the price and any description."

A key fact is that your relationship in the Sale of Goods Act is with the retailer, not the manufacturer.

Section 75 only works for credit cards. And it only works when you're paying for things that cost between £100 and £30,000.

"The bank is... liable" says Espe Fuentes, a lawyer at Which?. "It's as if they have sold you the sofa."

The most obvious claim you have, and one that crops up when furniture firms go bust, is for non-delivery of goods. But if you buy an item and after 13 months it is broken, and the shop that sold you it has gone bust, you can pursue the credit card provider.

Even if you only paid for a small part of the price of the goods with your credit card, the provider is still liable. But bear in mind that the act only applies to single items worth more than £100, not five items of £20.

(One thing to note is that you are not covered by the Consumer Credit Act as you might think when using it through third-parties such as Paypal; Paypal is not a financial institution. If goods aren't received or there's some kind of issue, you aren't covered by the act and have to raise the issue with Paypal using their dispute process.)

"[The act] does the same for services as the Sale of Goods Act does," says Ms Fuentes. "The service provided has got to be provided with reasonable skill and care. The goods bit means the widget has got to be of satisfactory quality."

In essence, you have rights to put the bad service right. Either the offending persons must do it, or they must pay for someone else to do it.

The Distance Selling Regulations allow customers a cooling-off period of seven working days. For goods, this counts from the time the goods are delivered. For services, it's seven working days from the contract being agreed.

This applies to all transactions carried out over a distance, not just to online transactions.

In a nutshell, you can get your refund. But there are some things you should be aware of, says Ms Fuentes.

"You do have to bear in mind who pays the postage."

And, she says, there are a range of things that are excluded: newspapers, magazines, personalised goods, flowers, food, software where the seal is broken, clothes that have been worn other than just to try them on, hotel bookings, and transport tickets.

Consumers are under a duty to take reasonable care of the goods while in their possession as discussed in paragraph 3.44. The DSRs allow consumers to examine goods they have ordered as they would in a shop. If that requires opening the packaging and trying out the goods then they have not breached their duty to take reasonable care of the goods. In these circumstances you cannot insist that consumers return the goods as new or in their original packaging.

You may ask consumers to return goods with the original packaging, but you cannot insist on this. In the case of goods such as earrings that have hygiene seals, you may require consumers to exercise reasonable care by not removing the seals when examining them."

The distance selling regulations only apply to individuals. Purchases for business are not covered, even if you're a sole trader. If it's bought in the business's name, then the regulation doesn't apply.

If you are denied entry to a flight where you met all the boarding criteria - prompt check-in, valid ticket and in a fit state to board - or the flight is cancelled, you now have rights.

Firstly, you get "reimbursement of the cost of the ticket within seven days or a return flight to the first point of departure or re-routing to their final destination".

You are also entitled to "care". The EU's summary mentions "refreshments, meals, hotel accommodation, transport between the airport and place of accommodation, two free telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails".

And you're in line for compensation of 250 euros for all flights of 1,500km. You get 400 euros for all flights within the EU of more than 1,500km, and the same for all other flights between 1,500 and 3,500km. All other flights get you 600 euros. Compensation only applies to cancellation, not delay.

The airline can avoid compensation if passengers are notified at least two weeks before departure. And if they are notified less than two weeks before, and are re-routed with only minor delays, they will also not be compensated.

There are rights for people who are delayed. Different levels of delay entitle customers to different levels of care, while any delay of more than five hours allows a refund to be obtained, although obviously, you will not be any closer to your destination.

But the legislation contains a glorious get-out for airlines. In "extraordinary circumstances", they do not have to compensate passengers.

There is a great temptation for airlines to say that staffing shortages or technical faults are "extraordinary circumstances". But this get-out may not continue much longer.

"The European Court of Justice has cracked down," says Dr Twigg-Flesner. "Technical problems are not extraordinary circumstances."

Where it applies: The regulations are European law, so apply across the whole of the EU.
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Old 07-11-2009, 13:01   #3
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Just to clarify the 6 year thing. It has no direct relationship to the length of time your goods should last.

6 years is the limitation period for breach of contract. So you have 6 years to bring a claim in relation to broken goods. That's from purchase. So if something breaks after 7 years you are already out of time. If it breaks after 3 you have 3 years LEFT etc.

That is a very separate thing from whether something should last for X period of time.
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Old 12-04-2010, 20:58   #4
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So what rights do you have if something (a fridgefreezer for instance) does fail after 6mnths? Who pays to diagnose/fix the fault and would this be 100% of the costs or a pro-rata amount?
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Old 13-04-2010, 05:48   #5
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6 months ? IMO - go back to the retailer, who will fix or replace (assuming it's broken during normal use, and not damaged by the user). That's the way it's always been, right ?
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Old 30-09-2010, 08:11   #6
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Are there guidelines as to who should pay postage if you return an item? We ordered some shelving from a company, but after opening one of them and starting to build it, it was clear that they were going to be far too flimsy for our use. The metal used was very poor quality indeed and I can't understand how the shelving would stand up to the claimed supported-weights in their brochure.

The retailer are happy to take it back, but have said they cannot refund postage paid. Is this right?
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Old 30-09-2010, 08:22   #7
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Originally Posted by ascender View Post
The retailer are happy to take it back, but have said they cannot refund postage paid. Is this right?
As I understand it (so possibly not 100%), if there's no fault with the goods then they don't have to refund your postage costs. Under the distance selling regs they should credit you back whatever postage you paid when you placed the order (if any), but return shipping is up to you.*

*this should all be in the retailers T&Cs though - if it's not you could have an argument with them about it.
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Old 30-09-2010, 08:45   #8
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Yep - sounds about right - it all hinges on whether the claim is DSR or not. If the goods are "as described", "of satisfactory quality" and "fit for purpose" then your statutory rights won't apply and you fall back to DSR. If you're returning under DSR, you pay. Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations October 2000 - you have the unconditional right to cancel an order. The law says that:
* You must inform them within seven working days starting with the day on which they are delivered
* You must ensure that you take reasonable care of goods and return them.
* They must refund the money as soon as possible and at the latest within 30 days of receiving written notice of your decision to cancel.
* You may only be charged at most for the cost of returning goods.

If goods are faulty, not "as described", not "of satisfactory quality" or not "fit for purpose", then the retailer should arrange collection or refund all return postage charges.

Where the goods are returned due to being faulty the consumer is entitled, under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended), to return the goods within a reasonable time after purchase and claim a full refund plus any other losses that have been incurred as a direct result of faulty goods being supplied, such as the costs of postage. Where faulty goods are returned the refurbishment charge, and/or delivery charges cannot be deducted from the consumers' refund.

So in your case, it sounds like goods were not as described - "I can't understand how the shelving would stand up to the claimed supported-weights in their brochure", so the company should pay. You should stress this in your claim, and not say you are claiming under DSR.

However, you may have to fight. Be polite but firm. Did you pay by credit card ? This can also give you an extra layer of consumer protection - if the company does not agree, you could phone your CC for advice.

Good luck, and let us know how you get on.
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Old 30-09-2010, 09:53   #9
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Thanks for the clarification guys, will let you know how I get on.
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Old 23-11-2011, 12:02   #10
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Just slight clarification of the DSR cooling off period - it's seven days starting with the day after delivery:

"the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods."
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Old 30-11-2011, 06:18   #11
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Big thanks go to MSE for this handy guide, available here on PDF. Thought it would be perfect to reproduce it here -
1. You've NO rights if you change your mind. If you buy IN-STORE and it's the wrong colour or size, or little Johnny turns his nose up, you have NO legal right to a refund, exchange or credit note.

2. Buy online or by phone and you've more rights. Here the Distance Selling Regulations mean you can change your mind, as you've a right to return goods within seven days for a refund even if not faulty (not personalised goods, see allowed returns list). So for bigger goods consider 'Roboshopping'.

3. If it's faulty you always have a right to return. If you buy faulty goods or services, whether in-store, online or even if in a sale or with a voucher, take them back quickly and you've full refund rights.

4. Learn your SAD FART rights. To add weight to complaints learn the definition of 'faulty'. To help you remember, all goods must be ...
Satisfactory quality, As Described, Fit for purpose, And last a Reasonable length of Time.
If not, they're faulty. It's also worth knowing and quoting the Sale of Goods Act 1979, or for services, the Supply of Goods & Services Act 1982. Need help remembering? Free wallet sad fart mini-guide.

5. Your rights are with the store, not manufacturer. Don't be fobbed off. With faulty goods, if the shop says "send it to the manufacturer", that's nonsense. Legally, your relationship is with it and it must sort it out, so stick to your guns.

6. If it's not faulty, then what it says goes. We often hear: "It wouldn't let me change the colour without a receipt, but I had my bank statement as proof. What are my rights?" Sadly, you've none. Stores are going beyond the law just giving no-fault exchanges, so if they say a receipt's needed, it is. That's unless its published returns policy says different, in which case, as that's part of your contract, it's enforceable. See the What shops say, true or false? list.

7. Write 'it's a gift' on the receipt (if it is). Legally, only the person who bought the gift has rights, so the recipient can't exchange. Many shops ignore this, but for safety, use a gift certificate or get the shop to write on its copy of the receipt and yours that it's a gift and who for. Rights are then transferred.

8. Receipts aren't necessary if goods are faulty. To return faulty goods, any legit proof of purchase, eg, bank statement, should be fine. Yet receipts are easiest (and usually required for no-fault returns) so try to keep them.

9. Buying on a credit card gives more protection. Pay on a credit card (not debit, cash or cheque) and if the goods cost over £100 the card company's jointly liable if anything goes wrong — valuable extra protection. Full info in the Section 75 & chargeback guide. Fully repay each month to avoid interest.

10. Return faulty goods at speed. These are the key timelines:
Under about four weeks for a full refund. You're entitled to a full refund if you've not 'accepted' goods within a month. After, expect exchange or repair.
Under six months & law favours you. Until then, the shop must prove goods weren't faulty when it sold 'em. After, you must prove they were faulty.
Goods must last a reasonable time. A key 'fault' is not lasting long enough. As for what's reasonable: I'd say it's reasonable to expect a £1,000 TV to last 18 months, but not a 50p torch. See my EU two-year rule's a myth blog.

Those are your rights, but of course if a shop refuses, the problem's enforcing them. Full help in the Consumer Rights and How to Complain guides.
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Old 14-03-2012, 21:50   #12
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Just to add: in the seven day cooling off period it's when you send the notice about changing your mind that's important, not when they receive it. So if you send a notice in the post within the seven days then it's enforcable, it doesn;t matter if the store or whatever gets it after the seven days are up.

Also, the cooling off period applies to doorstep sales as well, now. AFAIK they come under unsolicited sales but in any case you have the right to cancel them.
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Old 14-05-2012, 17:24   #13
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I thought I'd add this as a lot of people (including bank employees) seem to be under the impression that you cannot get your bank to cancel a credit card 'Continuous Authority' and endure considerable difficulties trying to stop them.

There is a guide from the Financial Services Authority here: http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/consumer_...ghts_guide.pdf

This is an excerpt dealing with continuous payment authorities.

Cancelling a regular
card payment

When you give your credit or debit card
details to a company and authorise
them to take regular payments from
your account, such as for a gym
membership or magazine subscription,
it is known as a ‘recurring transaction’
or ‘continuous payment authority’.
These are often confused with direct
debits, but do not offer the same
guarantee if the amount or date of the
payment changes.
In most cases, regular payments can
be cancelled by telling the company
taking the payments. However, you
have the right to cancel them directly
with your bank or card issuer by telling
it that you have stopped permission for
the payments. Your bank or card issuer
must then stop them – it has no right to
insist that you agree this first with the
company taking the payments.
Be aware, though, that you will still be
responsible for paying any money that
you owe.
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Old 06-07-2012, 14:41   #14
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Thumbs up It is really usefule!

tks for shareing so useful things to us. I learn a lot from it. Tks again!
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Old 06-07-2012, 17:40   #15
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Heres one recently then, boguht advance tickets online through national rails website, but when my mate offered to drive me was told tickets were nonrefundable, so are advance train tickets excluded or not? May have been after 7 days, not sure now, and its too late now anyway, just want to know for future, and it does normally say on the website nonrefundable, so this may cover them.
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Old 22-08-2013, 20:28   #16
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Great info to know. I think customers should know their rights as today there are many sellers who are interested in cheating people.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:34   #17
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sale of good act

Is Sale of Goods Act applicable for all countries....?
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Old 01-04-2014, 13:40   #18
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Originally Posted by marissadsilva View Post
Is Sale of Goods Act applicable for all countries....?
It's specific to the UK, other countries will have their own consumer protection type laws.

For example the SOGA is basically a slighter better version of an EU directive (and I think was in place before that directive), so most EU countries will have something similar.
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Old 24-02-2016, 21:35   #19
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This post either needs massively updating or removing as its the Consumer Rights Act 2015 that applies from last year.
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