Christmas Shopping in full Swing? Don't get caught out!

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 governs the relationship between a retailer and a consumer. It governs dealings between you and the places you shop, for example your rights when goods are faulty, and the right to return items.

Goods must fulfil the following criteria:

  • 1. Be of 'satisfactory quality';
  • 2. Be 'as described';
  • 3. Be 'fit for purpose'; and
  • 4. Last for a 'reasonable length of time'.

If goods fall short of the above standards, you have a right to reject (and return) them and obtain a full refund within 30 days. After this time has elapsed, you are only entitled to ask for a repair or replacement of faulty items. Only where repair or replacement is unsuccessful or inappropriate, would you be entitled to a full or partial refund.

However, how many of us are guilty of impulse buying (think clothes we don't really need for Christmas parties) with a view to trying them on in the comfort of our own home and returning in mint condition but unwanted, at a later date. It may surprise you to learn the shop is not obliged to offer you a refund. Under the Act, you are only entitled to a full refund within 30 days if the items do not satisfy at least one of the above criteria. If you simply purchase a top in several sizes or colours to try on later and then want to return them, the criteria are not necessarily made out.

Do not fear: most shops do have their own returns policy that probably provides for a full refund upon the return of unwanted items (not just faulty items) within a certain period of time, usually with a receipt. If a shop has such a policy, it should have to adhere to it. However, shoppers would be well advised to double check the returns policy before panic-buying only to be stuck with a top in every colour and size (that you didn't really want in the first place).