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Top three ‘must know’ Christmas shopping rights

Consumer Rights Act brings changes for festive shoppers


In a recent Which? survey, a third of people hadn’t heard of the new Consumer Rights Act, which will govern your rights when shopping this Christmas. 

The new Act – introduced earlier this year – brought a raft of changes to the legal rights of shoppers.

And with an estimated £24.4 billion set to be spent this Christmas, it pays to know your rights if things go wrong.

Traditionally complaints about faulty goods and substandard services soar around Christmas.

We’ve identified three key rights you should know to ensure you have a stress-free festive shopping experience.

We’ve also produced a range of guides you can use to know more about your Christmas shopping rights.

1. Dealing with faulty goods

When Which? asked people how long they had to demand a full refund from a retailer if their purchase turned out to be faulty 25% of people said they didn’t know.

Under the Consumer Rights Act goods should be fit for purpose, as described and of satisfactory quality – which means if what you buy is faulty or doesn’t match what a salesmen promised, you could be in line for a refund.

But you need to act quickly for a refund as you only have 30 days in which to reject something that’s faulty and get your money back.

Once this timeframe has run out, you can ask for a free repair or replacement. If that repair or replacement is unsuccessful, then you’re entitled to a refund.

If your Christmas deal turns out to be a festive dud, you can use our new faulty item complaint tool to get a refund, repair or replacement.

2. Returning unwanted gifts

Recently Which? research found that two in five people falsely believed that if you buy something from a shop on the high street, you have a legal right to a refund if you simply change your mind and wish to return it. 

Legally speaking, shops only have to accept returns bought on the high street if they’re faulty – they don’t legally have to accept something that you decide you don’t want.

The good news is that most retailers do have a returns policy offering an exchange, refund or store credit for most returns.  And if they do have a returns policy, they have to stick to it.

3. The retailer is responsible for delivery

Sometimes shopping is only half the battle – getting your item safely delivered can be another matter altogether.

Thanks to the Consumer Rights Act the retailer is responsible for the safe and timely delivery of your order.

So, if your parcel is left outside your property or with a neighbour without your permission and it goes missing, the retailer is liable and should replace it. 

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