The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is a huge document running to over one hundred pages, but what are the headline rights your need to be aware of when buying goods and services?
When are you entitled to a refund?
If goods are faulty and they were purchased from a UK based seller then you have a right to ask for it to be repaired or receive a full refund. You can get that refund up to 30 days after purchase and you must receive the money within 14 days.
If your goods become faulty after the 30-day period you can still get a repair or a replacement. If you are still unhappy after one repair you then have a right to a refund. This right extends to 6 months after purchase.
Even after 6 months you have the right to ask for a repair or replacement but the seller can now deduct some money for the use you have had out of the product.
You are not entitled to a refund if you just change your mind, although many sellers will exchange goods if they are in good condition. This is up to the individual retailers, they are not bound by law.
What about goods bought online?
Buying online is covered by the Distance Selling Regulations but the Consumer Act does cover digital goods such as films, games, music and ebooks.
If downloads do not work on your device you are only entitled to a replacement, not a refund. The retailer may offer a partial refund but often when purchasing downloads, it states clearly what software you need for it to work properly.
If you download something that carries a virus, that requires your computer to be repaired, you are entitled to compensation.
Are second hand goods covered by the Consumer Act?
Yes, they are when bought from a retailer rather than an individual. On ebay the business selling the product is liable, not eBay itself. Second hand goods bought in a shop are also covered.
What are my rights if I am unhappy with a service?
All services are covered by the Consumer Act. Services should be delivered “with reasonable care”. If you are unhappy with the service you have received you have the right to ask the provider to put it right or give you a refund, if that is your preference.
What if the provider refuses to give me my money back?
The Small Claims Court can be used but this can be expensive. An Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme has been set up to help consumers resolve an issue without having to go to court.
If you need any advice the Citizens Advice Bureau can help. www.citizensadvice.org.uk