Know your statutory rights
When you buy goods from a trader you have the following rights:
The goods should match any description the seller has given.
The goods should be of satisfactory quality. They should be free from minor defects and fit for the purpose they have been sold for.
If you inspected the goods before you bought them and noticed the fault or the seller made you aware of it, you will not be able to take action.
If you bought the goods on-line you will have additional rights. Please see our Factsheet on Buying Goods Over the Internet.
Decide what outcome you want:
Claiming a refund
If you want to return the goods and claim a full refund you need to act swiftly. If you have had the goods for some time, it may be difficult to claim this right.
Asking for a replacement or repair
Goods are expected to last for a reasonable amount of time taking into account the type of goods they are. If you bought the goods less than six months ago and they are the type of goods that would normally last six months, it would be for the trader to prove that the fault did not exist at the time of purchase. If you have had the goods for more than six months but less than six years, you can still ask for replacement or repair, but it would be for you to prove that the fault existed at the time of purchase.
Claiming additional compensation
It may be that claiming your money back or having the goods repaired would not be sufficient because you have suffered other losses. If the faulty goods have damaged other property or you have been injured, you may be entitled to further compensation.
Claiming other rights you may have due to a guarantee or warranty
You should check to see if you have any other rights under a guarantee or warranty. These rights can only be in addition to your *statutory rights.
Contact the trader
Tell them about the problem.
Attempt to return the goods with proof that you bought the goods from the trader. Ask for the outcome you want (refund, replacement, repair and / or additional compensation). It may be helpful to put your request in writing.
Claim against a credit provider
If the item cost more than a £100, but less than £30,000, and you bought the item on credit, for example by using a credit card or using in store finance, you will have rights under section 75 of Consumer Credit Act 1974. You can make your claim for compensation to the credit provider, as well as the trader, as they are equally liable.
Find out if there is a free dispute resolution process that you can use instead of going to court. Such schemes are sometimes operated by trade organisations:
Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances
Association of Art and Antique Dealers (LAPADA)
Furniture Ombudsman - E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Association of Garage Door Specialists
British Audio-Visual Dealers Association
British Horological Institute (Watch and Clock repairers)
Independent Footwear Retailers Association (IFRA)
Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association
Retail Motor Industry Federation
If you are having problems resolving your dispute, take specific advice. Free advice on consumer issues is available from the following organisations:
The trading standards department at your local council
Consumer Direct www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/contact
The Citizens Advice Bureau www.citizensadvice.org.uk/cabdir.ihtml
Your Trade Union
If call else fails, consider small claims action in the County Court
If the trader refused to compromise, you may wish to consider court action. Please see our Small Claims Court Factsheet for a Consumer Problem.
* Statutory rights – rights that everyone has due to legislation
THIS FACT SHEET IS INTENDED AS A GENERAL STATEMENT OF THE PROCEDURE AND DOES NOT PURPORT TO RENDER SPECIFIC ADVICE, LEGAL OR OTHERWISE. SPECIFIC ADVICE ON A PARTICULAR PROBLEM SHOULD ALWAYS BE SOUGHT.