As a consumer of goods and services in the UK you are protected by a set of laws that aim to ensure fair trading. But because of the many varied ways of purchasing goods and services including the internet, market trading, discount warehouses and car boot sales, you may not be certain of your rights.
Consumer protection law ensures you have reasonable redress to genuine grievances, but it equally protects lawfully trading retailers and suppliers. Whilst there are specific solutions for pre-defined circumstances, much of the consumer protection law is simply a set of guidelines to follow to ensure a satisfactory resolution of any disputes.
A new bill (Act of Parliament), The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1st October 2015.
The act replaced three big pieces of consumer legislation - the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act, and contains a clear list of rights for consumers, along with new measures to protect them.
Other key laws are listed below (click on the link for more information):
Collectively these laws detail the responsibilities of retailers as well as the rights of consumers.
The Consumer Rights Act
All goods you purchase must be:
If your goods fail to meet any of the above criteria then you could have a claim under the Sale of Goods Act with the retailer (the company that sold you the product) not the manufacturer.
There are clear guidelines covering goods offered as "Sale Items":
If you purchase goods on hire purchase (HP) then the hire purchase company is responsible for the quality of the goods supplied.
How can you tell that the scales your butcher uses to weigh the Sunday joint are accurate, or that the barman is giving you a fair measure? An explanation of the system which ensures that goods sold to you as a consumer are weighed or measured accurately, is available from GOV.UK.
A series easy to follow step-by-step guides and sample letters to assist you to claim or complain are available from Which? Consumer Rights.
A guide, "Consumer Rights: Know Your Statutory Rights" is available from MyLegaladvisor.co.uk.
Advice on how to deal with specific problems with Goods and Services is available at the following MyAdviceGateway pages:
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