Home / Money Articles / consumer rights on purchasing

consumer rights on purchasing

Consumer rights on purchasing

Written by:

Whenever you buy goods or services, you are protected by law under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, if something goes wrong. Knowing your consumer rights will enable you to ensure you receive the help and compensation you are entitled to.

Know the basics

Below you’ll discover everything you need to know about the different laws and the various consumer rights that come into effect when you purchase something.

There are a few basic consumer rights you should memorise and be aware of in case a transaction does go wrong. These include:

  • Goods must be as described, in satisfactory condition and last a reasonable amount of time
  • If there is no fault with the product you do not have any legal rights
  • Consumer laws apply to you and the retailer, not the manufacturer
  • You get more protection when you buy goods online/over the phone

Sometimes when you buy a product, it may not work the way you expected it to. If you have described your needs to the sales person, for example “Will this cable work with my TV?” and they have told you it will, you have rights if it turns out that it doesn’t. The same applies to if an item is faulty or if it doesn’t last as long as it should. It is the Sale of Goods Act 1979 that protects you under these circumstances so don’t be afraid to quote it if you need to.

Goodwill guestures

If you have bought a product and it is the wrong colour, type or it is the wrong size, you don’t have any legal rights. However, many stores do still offer a refund as a gesture of goodwill, but you need to remember that this isn’t something they are legally obligated to do.

Consumer rights on purchasing

Proof of purchase

The store may have its own policy on refunds so you will need to follow these. It is worth keeping in mind if you are returning goods that you have purchased and you’re following the returns policy, you will need a receipt. However, if the goods were faulty and the fault was not your own, you don’t always require the receipt. Instead you can show a bank statement or some other proof of purchase.

Many people attempt to return the goods to the manufacturer when it is faulty. However, the manufacturer doesn’t have a legal obligation unless you bought through them directly. It is the store where you made your purchase that is legally required to resolve the problem. So if the retail store tries to blame the manufacturer, be sure you quote your rights!

Buying online

These days a lot of goods are bought online or over the phone. It is easy to assume you don’t have as many rights as you would if you bought the items offline. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You actually have more rights buying online than you do offline. You are legally entitled to send most goods back within a period of two weeks if there is a problem. You may have to pay postage to return the goods.

As you can see, there are many consumer rights you are entitled to and it is worth familiarising yourself with them before you next go shopping. Having a good understanding of what you are entitled to will ensure you are not fobbed off in the future.



About Jemma Porter

About Jemma Porter

Jemma Porter is an experienced content creator who has written for a number of online publications. A self-confessed penny pincher; she's often found seeking out the best personal finance deals.

View all posts by