The camera lens is mouldy

A big problem with second-hand cameras and lenses is mould inside the lens. 

If you buy a second-hand lens or camera that turns out to be mouldy, whether you can get a refund depends on how the camera was described to you and who you bought it from. 

In Summary

  • Second-hand goods bought from online retailers are covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
  • If you buy a second-hand camera from a retailer, you're also covered by the Consumer Rights Act.
  • Buyer beware though if purchasing a second-hand camera from a  private seller - they don't have to draw attention to defects.

Bought from a retailer or trader  

If you bought the camera from an online retailer, then under the Consumer Contracts Regulations you can choose to cancel the order from the moment you place your order up to 14 days from the day you receive it. 

You should get a refund within 14 days of either the trader getting the goods back, or you providing evidence of having returned the goods (for example, a proof of postage receipt from the post office), whichever is the sooner. 

You'll also be covered by the Consumer Rights Act, which states that goods must be as described,  fit for purpose and of a satisfactory quality. 

Unless a lens has specifically been described as mouldy, it will usually not be considered of a satisfactory quality or fit for purpose if it has mould. 

If you want a refund you must act quickly - you have 30 days to return and reject the camera or lens and get your money back. 

You can also ask for a repair or a replacement if you prefer, or if you're outside of the 30-day timeframe to reject the camera. 

The retailer is allowed to chose the cheaper of the two options. 

After the first six months, the burden will be on you to prove that the product was faulty at the time of delivery.

You can send a letter to the retailer asking for a repair or replacement as you would do with a new camera. 

Bought from a private seller  

The rules are different if you've bought your camera or lens from a private seller.

The buyer needs to beware here, as private sellers are not obliged to point out defects. 

As long as the camera has been described accurately, you're not entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. 

For example, if the seller lists the camera as an SLR camera with lens and you buy it, the fact that there is mould on the lens will not entitle you to a refund. 

However, if the seller lists the item as an SLR camera with lens in good condition, then you would be entitled to a refund. 

The camera is scratched

You’re unlikely to be able to get a refund or a repair for a second-hand camera which shows superficial scratches.  

Second-hand goods sold by retailers and traders need to be of satisfactory quality, but you must take into account that the camera is second-hand so signs of wear and tear are acceptable.

A major scratch that affected the working of the camera, for example across the lens, would however be eligible for a repair or refund from a trader or retailer.

The camera doesn't work

As with the mouldy lens, whether you’re entitled to a refund depends on how and who you bought the camera from. 

If you bought the camera from a private individual and they didn't specify that it was working, then you may be out of luck.

For example, if a seller advertised that they were selling a Canon camera and you buy it, the fact that it's not working well doesn't mean you're entitled to a refund. 

But if they advertised the camera as a Canon camera 'in good working order', then you can get a refund because it's not as described. 

If you bought the camera from a retailer or trader, then you should be able to reject the camera and get a refund within the 30-day right to reject.

After this time, you may be able to claim for a repair or a replacement, but remember with second-hand goods ‘satisfactory quality’ must take into account that the camera is not new.

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