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Shedding light on your statutory rights

Which? finds most people don't know what they are


Which? is launching a shoppers’ rights campaign today in London’s Carnaby Street after discovering how few people know their statutory rights.

Lawyers and advisers from Which? will give shoppers in one of Britain’s busiest shopping streets on-the-spot advice and help dispel common myths and confusion about returning goods.

We surveyed over 1,000 adults and found that over a third of people have faced difficulties when trying to return an item or get a replacement.

Shoppers are most commonly refused a refund when the item has been used or when they don’t have a receipt. In both of these situations the shop is acting within its rights.

Original packaging

Around half of the shoppers we asked wrongly thought an item could only be returned if it was in the original packaging.

Meanwhile more than half wrongly thought they’d be entitled to a refund if they simply changed their mind, which isn’t true. Those under 35 were most likely to hold this misconception.

Our survey of over 1,000 adults aged over 16 was carried out by telephone last month.

Myths and truths

Here we dispel some common myths:

Myth – you have to complain to the manufacturer about faulty goods.

Truth – the retailer has to rectify any faults or problems, with a refund, a replacement or repair.

Myth – you need your receipt to get a refund.

Truth – you can use any proof of purchase, including a bank statement or credit card bill.

Myth – you’re entitled to a refund if you change your mind, or get an unwanted present.

Truth – a retailer only has to give a refund if the product is faulty, but many will give a refund or replacement as a gesture of good will.


Which.co.uk Editor Malcolm Coles says: ‘We weren’t entirely surprised, when we looked into this, to find widespread confusion about what you can return, and why. Often, shop assistants are just as ill informed about shoppers’ rights as their customers.

‘We’ve got Which? lawyers on hand to help any confused shoppers in Carnaby Street today, but we urge anybody who’s confused to find out what their rights actually are.’

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