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Consumers ‘in the dark’ about their rights

Shoppers losing out £1.2bn by not knowing rights


Almost half of Britons say they’re in the dark about their consumer rights, according to new research by uSwitch.com.

Only 4% of those surveyed claimed to have a strong grasp of their consumer rights, while almost three in ten said they’d lost time or money through not knowing their rights.

As a result, 47% believe more needs to be done to educate consumers about their rights. 

To find out more about your rights visit our consumer rights website, which contains free step-by-step guides and downloadable template letters. 

Which? research

The results from the uSwitch survey echo previous Which? research findings on consumers’ confusion over their rights.  

A Which? survey of more than 2000 consumers earlier this year found that fewer than half would know where to go for consumer rights information if they had a problem with a purchase

The Which? survey also found that four in ten people didn’t know their online shopping rights, while 23% said they’d lost money by not knowing that retailers are obliged to repair or replace goods that break within the first six months. 

This lack of knowledge has led to consumers losing out a whopping £1.2billion in the last year.

Draft Consumer Rights Bill

In May this year the government unveiled the draft Consumer Rights Bill, which includes greater consumer rights for shoppers.

Under the draft Bill, key consumer rights will be consolidated into one place, rather than spread across numerous pieces of legislation as it stands now. 

The Bill proposes a set 30-day time period in which consumers can reject faulty goods and get a full refund. Currently there is no set time in which to reject a faulty product.

Beyond 30 days, people will also have the right to get money back after one failed repair to their faulty goods, or if a replacement breaks.

uSwitch.com research

Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com Ann Robinson, said:  ‘The government’s plans to simplify consumer law and to bring it up-to-date are a step in the right direction. However, better protection will only work if consumers actually know about it and understand it too.’

A Which? spokesperson added: ‘Our research has shown that shoppers lost out on £1.2 billion last year by not exercising their rights, which is why we launched a free and easy-to-use website with practical advice and guidance on how to get your money back.’

Citizens Advice has also repeated its call for retailers to provide consumer rights information at the till following the uSwitch findings. Chief executive Gillian Guy said: ‘All too often shoppers and sales staff aren’t quite clear about what people’s legal rights are when it comes to getting refunds or exchanges.

‘For consumers to get their money back or replacements for faulty goods, they need to know and understand what their rights are.’

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