The phrase ‘This does not affect your statutory rights’ often appears in the T&Cs or at the end of store policies on retailer websites.
You’ll also see it on the receipts or shop notices of retailers. But what does it mean?
When you buy anything from a retailer, you’re entering into a contract with them and you’re protected by implied rights set by the law.
These rights are often referred to as your statutory rights.
By including this phrase, retailers are doing the minimum required to make you aware that you have legal rights in addition to the store policy.
The most important statutory rights for consumers to understand come from two pieces of legislation - the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
If you can learn the basic principles of these consumer laws and quote them to a retailer when making a complaint, you’ll stand the better chance of getting your money back.
While most retailers will know their store policies well, they aren’t always that clued up on the law. As a result, they can inadvertently misinform you.
Your statutory rights are your minimum guaranteed rights under the law, so they always apply and overrule the retailer’s store policy.
But, there are some scenarios where you have less legal protections.
While warranties can often be more generous, they do sometimes have exclusions and commonly last for one year - in which case, you might want to exercise your rights which last longer.
If you buy something in store in person you have less rights to rely on than if you purchased it online.
Everything you buy must conform to the Consumer Rights Act, which says all goods and services must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.
If your goods don’t conform to this, then they are classed as a faulty good and can be returned for a refund, repair or replacement depending on the length of time you’ve owned it for.
This statutory right applies regardless of whether you purchased the goods online or in store.
If what you’ve bought doesn’t satisfy any one of the three criteria outlined above, you have the right to make claim for a refund, repair or replacement depending on how long you’ve had the faulty item for.
The Consumer Rights Act also covers services. The term ‘service’ covers a wide variety of services, including large and small-scale work you might have carried out in your home or elsewhere.
The service contract is governed by the Consumer Rights Act, which means you can use this as protection should anything go wrong.
Think you might have a faulty good? Just answer some simple questions and pop your name and email address in at the end, and we’ll send you a ready-to-go letter you can send to the retailer.
The specific information varies depending on whether the sale is made at a distance (for example, online or over the phone) or face-to-face somewhere that’s not the business premises of the trader (also known as ‘off-premises’) or in a store.
The Consumer Contracts Regulations also explains your right to cancel an order, the length of time you have to do so and your right to a refund.
The act also contains a strict liability test for defective products in UK Law making the producer of that product automatically liable for any damage caused.
Anyone who suffers damage as a result of the defect is entitled to claim - not just the person who bought the product.
This means you can put your claim to the credit card company if you’re having difficulty getting your money back from the retailer. But you can’t recover your losses from both.
Sometimes in life you need to understand and lean on your knowledge statutory rights more than you'd like to.
Our can help you understand your statutory rights across a range of areas. Here are two more regulations we cover in detail which can help you understand your statutory rights around package holidays and dodgy sales tactics: