What rights do I have when buying goods?

With Christmas just around the corner, our thoughts turn to buying gifts, but what are our rights when buying goods in the UK? Well, the “Sale of Goods Act 1979” (as amended by the “Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994”) states that all goods sold must be of a satisfactory quality and fit for the purpose that they have been sold for, and are as they have been described – but what does that mean?Consumer Law - Your Rights

It basically means that you have the right to expect that any goods you buy are made to a standard that any reasonable person would consider acceptable when taking into account the price of the item, any description that had been given, plus any other information that could be relevant. In addition to this the item must be as it was described in the advert, so for instance, if it has been advertised as new, there must not be signs of wear. Lastly, the item must be fit for the purpose it was sold for – so if you buy a new phone and specify that it must be able to run Facebook, the seller must ensure that it CAN run Facebook before selling it to you.

It is important to keep your receipts as your proof of purchase in case of a later issue, but if for some reason this is not possible credit card bills or bank statements can be used instead. If you have ordered an item, but not yet paid for it, and when it arrives you feel it doesn’t meet the criteria above, you have the right to refuse it.

Under the same act, if any goods you have purchased are faulty, you are entitled to have the goods repaired instead of receiving a refund or having them replaced – you can ask for a repair at anytime up to six years after time of purchase. If it isn’t going to be economical to repair the faulty goods, you are entitled to a replacement instead.

If the faulty goods cause damage to other items, or if you have been caused a significant inconvenience by the amount of time taken to make the repair then you may be entitled claim for “out of pocket” expenses.

If you have a complaint about an item you have brought your first point of contact is the seller you brought it from, though it can also be worth contacting the manufacturer as you may have additional rights given from the manufacturer guarantee. If you do not get an acceptable reaction from the seller, you could try contacting the Trading Standards Institute for advice who may suggest that you contact a solicitor specialising in consumer law.

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