LEGAL: “Black Friday” and the January Sales: What are your refund rights?

It is estimated that we will spend around £1.9 billion on “Black Friday” this year, with even more being spent when the January sales begin.

It is estimated that we will spend around £1.9 billion on “Black Friday” this year, with even more being spent when the January sales begin.

So what are your rights when you have just bought on impulse a 55 inch TV that doesn’t fit on your 40 inch wall or the washing machine of your dreams doesn’t work?This article sets out your basic statutory rights which every retailer has to comply with when dealing with a consumer (who is any individual mainly acting outside of their business, trade, craft or profession). These rights have changed as of 1 October 2015 and give you added protection. It may be that the shop you buy products from gives you additional rights (such as a returns policy for when you change your mind about goods bought in store), so always check the retailer’s terms and conditions of sale (which are normally found online).

Buying in Store

You have the right to a full refund within 30 days if you buy a faulty product. So for example, if you buy a kettle and when you turn it on for the first time, realise that it doesn’t reach boiling point (therefore, it is faulty), you are entitled to a full refund immediately if you return it within 30 days.

If only some functions of the kettle work (e.g. the “reheat” button doesn’t work) and you notice the defect within 6 months, you are entitled to either a repair or a replacement. If it cannot be replaced or repaired, you are entitled to a full refund.
There are additional requirements that traders must comply with, such as the requirement that goods are of satisfactory quality (i.e. continue working for a reasonable period of time), fit for the purpose you specify, match their description and match a model or sample that has been given to you.

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Buying Online

We spend on average over £815 million a week on online purchases and this is growing by over 10% every year. During the sales season, this figure increases significantly (especially in the advent of “Black Friday”). Buying online is often a cheaper way to shop and it affords you additional rights compared to buying in store. You will have all the same rights as you would have in store. You also have up to 14 days after receiving your goods to change your mind and receive a full refund (this excludes certain situations such as where you have ordered a made-to-measure product).

There are also additional rights for you if you are buying services (e.g. a plumper to install that washing machine of your dreams) or if you purchase digital content (e.g. this magazine online, Adele’s new album etc). There are also special provisions for unfair contract terms (such as when you are tied into your mobile phone contract for a significant period of time or have a long notice period).
Charles Irvine is a barrister at 1 Gray’s Inn Square Chambers and David Peachey is a barrister at Enterprise Chambers, with expertise in helping businesses and their customers. This article is for general information only and you should contact a legal advisor if you require advice on your individual circumstances.
by Charles Irvine and David Peachey

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