Shop­per power! 30-day re­funds now guar­an­teed

Daily Mail - - News - By Sean Poul­ter Con­sumer Af­fairs Editor s.poul­[email protected]­ly­

SHOP­PERS are to be en­ti­tled to a full re­fund up to 30 days af­ter buy­ing items – in­clud­ing cars – that turn out to be faulty.

Changes to the law, which come into ef­fect on Thurs­day, have been de­scribed by the con­sumer group Which? as the big­gest re­form to shop­pers’ rights in a gen­er­a­tion.

They mean re­tail­ers will no longer be able to of­fer re­pairs in­stead of a re­fund – which can take weeks and cause a lot of in­con­ve­nience.

The Con­sumer Rights Act 2015 is de­signed to clear up the con­fu­sion that cur­rently means re­tail­ers get away with selling prod­ucts that break or do not work as claimed.

It also en­sures trades­men fit­ting kitchens, bath­rooms or do­ing other work around the home de­liver the ser­vice and qual­ity that was promised. There are also new rights for re­funds cov­er­ing dig­i­tal down­loads, such as games and films, which ei­ther do not work or might even dam­age a cus­tomer’s de­vices.

At the same time, com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing bud­get air­lines, will no longer be al­lowed to hide charges in their small­print.

Re­search by Which? has found busi­nesses can be quick to refuse to help cus­tomers who have been sold a shoddy prod­uct or ser­vice. The new law is de­signed to en­sure shop­pers can en­force their rights.

Richard Lloyd, the group’s ex­ecu- tive di­rec­tor, said it will ‘strengthen con­sumer rights’, adding: ‘Get­ting a re­fund or re­pair, deal­ing with is­sues with faulty dig­i­tal down­loads and chal­leng­ing un­fair terms should all be made much sim­pler.

‘Busi­nesses now need to en­sure their staff are aware of the changes so they’re not short-chang­ing cus­tomers or break­ing the law.’ The Act is de­signed to con­sol­i­date and im­prove sev­eral ex­ist­ing laws.

The big­gest change is the ‘early right to re­ject’ a prod­uct that turns out to be faulty or not what was claimed within 30 days in re­turn for a full re­fund rather than be­ing of­fered a re­pair.

It also gives bet­ter pro­tec­tion for shop­pers where a prod­uct fails more than 30 days but less than six months af­ter pur­chase. In this case, the store or garage can of­fer a re­pair but, if this does not work, the cus­tomer has a le­gal right to a re­fund or re­place­ment.

The new rules will not af­fect the vol­un­tary re­fund poli­cies that many re­tail­ers run, where shop­pers can re­turn items for any rea­son for some weeks af­ter a pur­chase. They also take into ac­count the fact that fam­i­lies are do­ing more shop­ping online and con­firm that peo­ple have a 14- day pe­riod to re­turn items bought over the web.

Con­sumer blog­ger He­len Dewd­ney, who uses the name The Com­plain­ing Cow, said: ‘It’s es­sen­tial that con­sumers un­der­stand their rights and know how to as­sert them when nec­es­sary.

‘Many stores want to shirk their le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity and pro­vide a re­pair or re­place­ment, rather than give a full re­fund. Un­less con­sumers know that they can in­sist on this re­fund up to 30 days from pur­chase it is likely that many re­tail­ers will con­tinue to fob them off.’

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