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Top back to school shopping problems solved

Remember your rights when shopping for your child


Back to school can be an expensive time for parents, especially when things go wrong with your children’s school kit. We’ve looked at four top consumer problems parents may face and your rights in each case.  

Laptop broken?

A computer is essential kit for students these days. If you buy a laptop or tablet which turns out to be faulty then, under the Sale of Goods Act, you can choose to reject it and get a refund, as long as you do this within a reasonable time – usually three to four weeks.

You also have the right to get faulty goods replaced or repaired if you prefer (or if it’s too late to get a refund).

You can use our letter to claim for a repair or a replacement laptop.

School uniform damaged?

If your child is getting through school uniforms at an alarming rate it may be that they’re not up to scratch. Under the Sale of Goods Act clothes must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.

If shirts, skirts or trousers are tearing after normal wear and tear then you should take them back to the shop. If you do this within a reasonable time then you should be able to get a full refund. Within the first six months it is up to the retailer to prove that goods were of a satisfactory quality and fit for purpose at the point of sale – if they can’t do this then they should be offering a repair or replacement uniform.

If you’ve bought your child’s school uniform second hand from a retailer you should still be covered by the Sale of Goods Act – but that’s not the case if you bought from a private individual.

Bought too much stuff?

If you’ve gone a bit overboard with buying stationery and other school kit you may be able to take the goods back for a refund. Shops are not actually legally obliged to accept returns of goods, but most do operate goodwill return policies. 

Make sure the items are still in their original packaging and in a good order and you should be able to return them.

Books not delivered?

If you’re still waiting for books or other items you’ve ordered online, check the bill to see the estimated delivery date. Wait a reasonable time after this – usually two or three weeks – to check they’ve not been delayed in the post before complaining to the retailer.

If there is no estimated delivery time on your bill then the books should be delivered within 30 days under Distance Selling Regulations. If they have not been delivered you are entitled to cancel the order and seek a full refund.  

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