A nice little earner for rubbish providersNot returning faulty goods costs shoppers

04 March 2010

High street store credit cards

Store cards are too expensive and too easy to obtain

The average shopper loses almost £5,000 during their lifetime because they don't return faulty items to their supplier, new research has revealed. Consumers also feel intimidated by product providers or don't know their rights, according to the report.

Not returning a faulty appliance or other item because they don't know their costs consumers £4,950 on average, according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). 

Almost half of shoppers surveyed by BIS revealed that they own at least one faulty item that they wished they'd returned or got exchanged.

Male shoppers are 'intimidated'

The average male shopper lets outlets off £89 worth of each year, compared to the £71 female shoppers chuck away because they don't challenge retailers. More than a third told BIS that they feel nervous when returning an item, with 40% feeling embarrassed. 

Consumer Minister Kevin Brennan MP said: 'We want to do all we can to encourage people not to lose out financially because they don't know their rights. Now is the time to brush up on your consumer rights so you can return any faulty or unwanted goods with added confidence.'

Consumer rights: Five top tips

BIS has launched the Know Your Consumer Rights Campaign, which includes top tips when thinking of returning goods. 

BIS recommend the following:

1. Remember, your contract is with the retailer from whom you purchased your item, not the manufacturer.

2. If you have a warranty agreement, contact the manufacturer as well as the retailer. Act quickly, because there can be time limits on applications.

3. Check with the retailer whether they have their own rules on how to deal with damaged or faulty items. Some stores have their own policies on returning or exchanging goods, which you may be able to take advantage of.

4. If you buy online, remember you have a seven-day 'cooling off' period starting from the date you receive your purchase. This gives you the right to reject an item simply because you no longer want it or do not like it - whereas on the high street, you cannot take back goods on this basis. 

5. Otherwise, you have the same rights when you buy online as you do when you shop on the high street. 

It's also worth remembering that under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act credit card payments of between £100 and £30,000 are protected. This means that if something goes wrong with your purchase, you can claim against your credit card provider as well as the retailer who originally sold you your item.

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