4 Consumer Rights You MUST Know
by Li George
Don’t you just hate the fact that the companies that are happy to take your money also seem to know your consumer rights better than you? When things go wrong and let’s face it, they often do, do you find yourself tongue tied and unable to express your legal rights? The worse thing is that when these problems occur you often have very little time to prepare or do your research especially if you’re put on the spot at the store, restaurant or facing a stroppy retail assistant. As the old adage goes “knowledge is power”, so here is a quick no nonsense guide that will provide you with a broad over-view of your rights so you never have to accept poor service again.
1. SAD FART – Your Most Basic Consumer Rights
Money saving expert, Martin Lewis does a great job of explaining how the law protects you as a consumer in the most basic way and he uses the acronym ‘SAD FARTS to explain this. As a consumer you are entitled to a product that is of Satisfactory quality, As Described, Fit for purpose And it lasts for a Reasonable length of Time. This is also the basis of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 so mention this law for extra credibility.
Use this basic test to determine whether you have a good case for complaining as the law will back you up. This applies to almost all retail goods; if the product fails to meet any one of these standards, then forget about receipts – you have a legal right to a full refund as long as you can prove purchase. Don’t let retailers fob you off with excuses that it’s the manufactures fault, if there is a problem you are in direct contract withe the retailer NOT the manufacturer and it is their responsibility to resolve any issues you may have. Remember that this also applies to discounted or secondhand goods especially if there is a fault not highlighted at the time of sale.
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2. Buying a Ticket? You Have More Rights Than You Think
Did you know that when you buy a ticket direct from a venue (not a third party vendor) you are legally entitled to receive the exact number of tickets you ordered and receive them on time. Mention the words, ‘reasonable care and skill’ because this is a specific clause in the law that protects you in this area. It means that a certain amount of skill and common sense has to be applied when delivering a service so if you receive your tickets too late, the show is cancelled, moved to a different location or the date has been changed then you are entitled to a full refund. No question about it.
3. Online Shopping Rights
Many people think that they might have fewer rights when buying things online than if they were to buy something in a shop but it is in fact the opposite that is true. There is a very powerful piece of legislation called the Consumer Contracts Regulations that governs distance or off-premise purchases and because you can’t physically inspect the goods before buying you have stronger rights when buying online or over the phone (e.g. buying from a catalogue). Here are some of the best and most useful aspects of this legislation:
A) Cancel any order after you have ordered it and then until 14 days after receive it (exceptions might apply to things like games, CD’s, DVD’s where you have broken the seal, underwear and items that have been custom made for you).
B) Receive a full refund if the item is not delivered by the agreed delivery date, or, if there is no agreed delivery date, within 30 days.
C) Keep any thing that has been sent to you without you requesting it.
4. Always. Use. Credit Cards (But Pay Them Off!)
If you’re buying anything between £100 – £30,000 then ALWAYS opt to use a credit card because you will get extra protection under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 Section 75 meaning that the credit card company is jointly responsible for anything going wrong. In simple words, if the company won’t pay up when you’re entitled to a refund then your credit card company will. The best part? This is guaranteed by law.
Tip: Make sure you pay direct with your credit card to make sure you qualify, don’t use third party sites like Paypal etc.
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I would love to hear your thoughts…
Have you ever used any of these techniques to help you fight your corner during a dispute with a retailer? Are there any legal suggestions missed in this article? How confident are you when it comes to using your rights when the retailer is being dismissive?
Please share your experiences and / or comments below.