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17 June 2020

Your rights in the Boxing Day and January sales

Whether you’ve bought a dud TV in store or a faulty fridge freezer online, find out what your sales shopping rights are.
Matt Clear

A cut-price sales deal doesn’t mean your consumer rights will be given the chop.

The Consumer Rights Act, which came into force in 2015, gives you clearer rights, whether you're buying in store or online. It also includes new rights for buying digital content, so you're covered if it isn’t up to scratch.

To make sure you know what to do if your sales item turns out to be a dud, we've rounded up the top five things you need to know about your rights when you're sales shopping.

1. What if the item I bought is faulty?

Hunting for the best deals can be stressful enough without discovering that you've bought something that's faulty.

We recommend that you go to the retailer in the first instance, rather than using a warranty. This is because there are strict rules under the Consumer Rights Act that retailers must follow. Move quickly, though, as you only have 30 days in which to reject something that's faulty and get your money back.

Your rights don’t end after 30 days but, from then on, the retailer has the option of repairing or replacing the faulty product, rather than having to give you a refund.

2. What if I change my mind about a purchase?

You can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer has a returns policy. It's worth noting that shops aren't required by law to have a returns policy but, if they do, they must stick to it.

Most shops' returns policies have time limits for returning non-faulty products, often 28 days. But sometimes they extend this period – especially around Christmas – so you might have more time than you think. Check when you buy.

If you buy online, you have additional rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations. These give you 14 days from the time of delivery to return the product for a full refund, even if it's not faulty.

But save yourself the hassle of having to return a product that's not right for you by doing your research first. We've got expert reviews of thousands of products, including:

3. The digital content I’ve bought doesn’t work – what can I do?

In 2015, the Consumer Rights Act introduced new digital rights. This essentially means that anything you download or stream – including apps, music, movies, games or ebooks – is now covered by the legislation.

The retailer now has one opportunity to repair or replace any goods or digital content that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, before you can demand a refund.

Crucially, for the most part, these rights only apply to digital content you pay for, not the free stuff.

Click to find out more about your new digital rights.

4. What if there’s a problem with my delivery?

It’s always the the retailer's responsibility to deliver your goods to you so, if your parcel doesn't turn up on time, has gone missing altogether, arrives damaged, or is stolen from your doorstep, it needs to rectify the situation.

You shouldn't have to chase the delivery courier if there is a problem. Know your delivery rights and always speak to the retailer in the first instance.

5. How do I avoid scams when doing sales shopping online?

There has been a huge increase in goods being sold by unscrupulous sellers on social media, as it’s easy to set up multiple accounts that don’t require too many details. According to the latest annual Intellectual Property Crime Report, social media has overtaken auction sites as the criminal ‘channel of choice’ for selling counterfeit and pirated products.

We advise caution if you see any special offers advertised on social media that look too good to be true. Stay one step ahead of the criminals – use our seven tips to spot and avoid a scam.