Know your rights when shopping in the salesReduced prices don’t mean reduced rights

26 December 2013

Woman shopping in the Christmas sales

New Which? research has revealed that one in 10 people don’t know they have the same rights when buying sale items as non-sale items.

With Boxing Day sales a key date in the shopping calendar, it's important to know you still have rights - and how to use them.

Our survey of 2,205 UK adults in November 2013 found that 53% of people said they'd be shopping for clothes and accessories in the January sale.

And nearly one in five people said they'd be shopping for CDs, DVDs or games in the sales. 

For more information when hitting the sales this festive season, read our guide to shopping in the Christmas sales

Your rights in a sale

If a shop is running a sale, it  has to follow certain government rules that ensure it’s a genuine sale.

This includes having to sell items at the non-sale price for 28 consecutive days in that store immediately before the sale. The exception to this rule is unless the store puts up a sign that explains the terms of the offer. 

Shops are also required to clearly display the original price along with the sale price so shoppers can see the discount they're getting.

Remember, if you change your mind about a product, you may not necessarily be entitled to return it. You can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if a retailer has a returns policy.

If a retailer does have a returns policy, they must stick to it. For more information, see our guide on returning goods.

Returning faulty goods

If you buy something that has a fault, it doesn’t matter if you bought it in the sale, you still have rights to return it under the Sale of Goods Act.

Under the Sale of Goods Act, goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

You also have extra protection if you're buying goods online, with a catalogue or over the phone. Find out more about your online shopping rights at Christmas.

Online delivery issues

One in five people in our survey experienced delivery problems last Christmas.

The most common complaint was goods arriving late despite a quarter of those having made their purchase more than a month before the company’s cut-off date for delivery.

If your items didn’t turn up in time for Christmas, make sure you know your delivery rights.

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