Trading Standards Officers from Fife Council want to help consumers avoid problems and to get the best deal so here are their Top Ten Tips:
When buying goods always keep receipts, just in case there is a problem and they need to be returned. It is important to note there is no legal right to a refund or replacement if an item is an unwanted present.
Many shops have ‘goodwill policies’ of their own. This means the retailer will provide a ‘no quibble’ refund (often valid for three, six or 12 months) or allow you to exchange goods within a specified period, even if they are not faulty. Check with the shop if it has a goodwill policy before you buy, particularly if you are buying the item for someone else.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
This Act says goods must be ‘of satisfactory quality’, ‘fit for their purpose’ and ‘as described’.
Faulty and misdescribed goods
If goods don’t comply with the Consumer Rights Act you have a short term right to reject them within 30 days and get your money back.
Although the law says that it’s up to the seller to deal with complaints about defective goods, you may have additional rights under manufacturers’ guarantees, provided you have sent off your details to validate the guarantee.
Your rights apply equally if you have bought goods in a sale. You should ignore any signs which say otherwise as they have no legal effect. Some sales goods can be reduced because of slight defects so check carefully. The seller is not obliged to give you your money back if you are complaining about faults pointed out to you prior to purchase, for example, on signs or labels.
If you buy goods or services from a catalogue, on the internet or by any other form of ‘distance selling’, generally speaking you have additional rights.
To find out more about shopping online safely, visit www.fifedirect.org.uk/internetsafety
Credit Card Protection
If you have bought goods on a credit card and the item is more than £100 (and not greater than £30,000) both the supplier and credit provider have the same liability to you if the goods are faulty or they were misrepresented.
Be wary of offers that seem to be too good to be true – they probably are.
If a product is not to your satisfaction, go back to the seller, with proof of purchase such as a receipt. Keep calm and be sure of your facts. If you are not satisfied, write a letter of complaint to the company’s head office or consumer complaints department. Persevere as you may need to send a follow-up letter. If this fails, contact Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506 or www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland