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What Are Your Rights If You Buy Faulty Goods?

When it comes to faulty goods, many consumers are unaware of the protection and statutory rights they are legally entitled to. Shops often exploit their customers’ uncertainty and violate shoppers’ statutory rights by shirking their legal responsibility to remedy situations by offering refunds, repairs or replacements.

The Consumer Rights Act

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, traders are legally responsible to sell goods which are:

  • ‘As described’, meaning the actual product must match any description(s) given to the customer before purchase by which the goods are identified.
  • ‘Of satisfactory quality’, that is they are of a standard that would reasonably be expected taking into consideration the price paid and description. In appropriate circumstances the quality of the goods will include freedom from minor defects, durability, safety, and appearance and finish.
  • ‘Fit for all purposes’ made known to the seller at the time of purchase

The Act states that if goods turn out to not fulfil any of these criteria, you have the right to demand a refund from the seller unless you have accepted the goods. The Act provides that goods have been ‘accepted’ by the buyer where:

  • You tell the seller you have accepted them;
  • You do something to or with them which prevents you from giving the goods back in their original state, such as altering, consuming or damaging them;
  • You keep the goods for 30 days without rejecting them.

It is a good idea to report the problem to the seller as soon as you become aware of the fault. If you do wish to reject the goods you must give clear notice of this to the seller.

If you allow 30 days to elapse then you no longer have the right to a refund, but you are still entitled to get the item repaired or replaced for free instead.

Faulty goods are also often covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee or warranty, but this is in addition to your automatic rights and does not represent a get-out-of-jail-free card for the retailer. Your rights may also extend beyond the manufacturer’s guarantee once it has expired.

The Consumer Rights Act also covers goods bought second hand, as well as goods bought at a discount price in a sale. However the requirement that goods be of satisfactory quality does not apply to a particular defect where:

  • That particular defect has been pointed out to you before you agreed to buy the goods; or
  • You inspect the goods before agreeing to buy them and the particular defect is one that you should really have spotted.

How To Obtain Refunds For Faulty Goods

If a fault develops soon after you purchased an item, or if it was faulty straight away, meaning the goods are not of satisfactory quality, then you are entitled to a full refund from the retailer.

The legal term to use here is the “right to reject under the Consumer Rights Act”, as the item was not of satisfactory quality. You must give the seller clear notice that the item is rejected within 30 days for a refund to be given.

How To Get Faulty Goods Repaired Or Replaced

Under the Consumer Rights Act, your consumer rights may allow you to get faulty goods repaired or replaced for free up to six years after purchase, although the longer you have had the goods the progressively more difficult it will be to show the defect arose as a result of the state of the goods at time of purchase.

If the fault arises within six months of the purchase, and it’s not because of fair wear and tear, accidental damage or misuse, then the retailer must repair or replace the faulty goods. If the retailer objects, he must prove that the item wasn’t faulty to begin with or that it wasn’t expected to last very long.

If six months have passed and something goes wrong, you might still get a repair or replacement but you will have to prove that the goods were inherently faulty, i.e. show that there is no other cause, such as accidental damage, for the fault.

To help you prove this, you may wish to obtain an independent expert’s report to back up your claim, although these can be expensive.

If you need any advice in relation a faulty good, please do not hesitate to call me on 01133 50 40 30 or at samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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