Know all the rules so you don’t fall for the great refund rip-off
WHEN you buy goods that turn out to be faulty, the Consumer Rights Act says you are entitled to a remedy: typically a free repair, replacement or refund. If you reject the goods and demand a refund, there are circumstances in which the trader can make a deduction to take account of the use you’ve had of the goods. However, from listening to readers’ stories, it has become clear many traders either do not understand the rules, or are pulling the wool over their customers’ eyes.
THE SIX-MONTHS RULE
Only three months after buying a sofa, after the trader failed to repair a fault, Wendy from London exercised her final right to reject and demanded a refund. The trader agreed but deducted £75 to cover three months’ use. The law says no deduction may be made if the right to reject is exercised within six months of purchase, so the trader was wrong.
David from Birmingham returned his car after four weeks due to an electrical fault.
The fault was repaired and the car returned. But it went wrong again and it transpired a new part was needed. The dealership agreed to take the car back and provide a refund, but made a deduction of £750.There is an exception to the six-month rule cited above in relation to motor vehicles, so in this case the deduction was legitimate.
Ashley, in Poole, returned a TV he purchased for £1,950 18 months earlier.The trader agreed to a refund but deducted £900.
As Ashley had owned the TV for more than six months, the trader was entitled to do so. However, any deduction must reflect the use the consumer has had.
The law does not prescribe how to calculate the deduction, but with electrical goods the principle is to take the anticipated shelf life and make a pro-rata deduction for the period of use.
In Ashley’s case, the shelf life should have been more than two years, meaning the amount deducted (nearly half of the purchase price) was clearly too much.