What Everyone Ought to Know about Their Consumer Rights

The Complaining Cow

The Complianing Cow – Helen Dewdney

Helen Dewdney, blogs at www.thecomplainingcow.co.uk providing consumer advice, guidance and tips on how to complain effectively. She is the author of Amazon bestseller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress & Results! Here she provides a brief outline of some of your rights when purchasing goods and services.

The British are good at moaning about the weather but less so about complaining about faulty goods and poor service. Due to time, effort and not knowing their rights the consumer is frequently taken advantage of and is not given redress when they are fully entitled to it and are left out of pocket.

Understanding Your Rights as a Consumer

There are numerous consumer laws which give you a lot of protection. However, some are more used than others. You should be aware of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. This was the update made to the Sale of Goods Act 1979. Under this Act you are entitled to goods that are of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, are as described and last a reasonable length of time.

How To Complain and Get a Refund

So, your kettle stops working what do you do when you’ve only had it 6 weeks? You are entitled to a full refund, replacement or repair. After a few weeks it is considered that you have accepted the item and therefore may have to accept a repair or replacement. If you’ve only had the kettle a couple of weeks you can insist on a refund. However, many companies will try and fob you off. Don’t allow it! The company may say to you that you don’t have the receipt so they cannot do anything. You only need to prove purchase, so a credit card statement for example would do. It may say that you have to return it to the manufacturer for a repair. You do not have to accept this as your contract is always with the retailer to whom you gave the money. A classic fob off is being told that you should have taken out a warranty. I have yet to ever be told of any warranty which gives you more protection than your statutory rights. If you know your statutory rights you would never take out a warranty! So assert your legal rights, quoting the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994.

The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 entitles you to services which are carried out with reasonable care and skill, in a reasonable time (if there is no specific time agreed) and for a reasonable charge (if no fixed price set in advance).

So, you expected the dishwasher engineer to come on Thursday between 8.00am and 5.00pm? The company couldn’t give you a more precise time so you have had to take the day off work. The engineer didn’t turn up. You are entitled to the out of pocket expenses for the time you took off for this missed appointment. When he eventually turned up the next day he damaged the floor. You are entitled to services to be carried out with reasonable skill and care so you are entitled to redress for repairing the floor.

How to Complain to the CEO of a Company

If you still can’t get the response to which you are entitled write to complain. Follow these tips and if you still don’t get anywhere email the ceo of the company. You can find the CEO contact details of any CEO at www.ceoemail.com

You Are Entitled to a Refund!

It’s so important to complain when you are legally entitled to a refund or redress. So many people fall at the first hurdle and get fobbed off. It means the fat cats get fatter and you are out of pocket! So make sure you assert your legal rights effectively.

For purchases and services made from October 1st 2015 you should quote the Consumer Rights Act 2015 more details here: http://www.thecomplainingcow.co.uk/a-guide-to-the-consumer-rights-act-2015/



What Everyone Ought to Know about Their Consumer Rights — 4 Comments

  1. This is a really long story thus far, shortened version..
    I bought my girlfriend a coat as a Christmas gift, labelled the right size but did not fit. The shop had no larger sizes and no alternative so I asked for a refund. I was refused, I asked to speak to the manager, also refused.
    I contacted their customer services online and didn’t get a satisfactory reply so in a second email I set out my rights they were breaching, had no reply.
    I contacted the citizens consumer advice with the longer version of this story and got the most bizarre reply.

    “We understand from your email you would like advice regarding the clothes you purchased for your girlfriend from store.

    Your rights and obligation

    Under UK civil Law, there is no legal requirement for a trader to provide cancellation rights for purchases made at the trader’s premises.The Consumer Contract Information Cancellation and Additional Charges Regulations 2013

    The Consumer Contract Information Cancellation and Additional Charges Regulations 2013 would only govern contracts formed at distance (i.e. over the telephone or online) and this would be providing the goods/service does not fall under one of the legislations exemptions.

    We would recommend you request a copy of the traders store policy to see if there are any additional rights to return the goods, you will be reliant on the goodwill of the trader as opposed to any legal rights.

    Your Next Step

    We would suggest that you contact the trader and request a copy of their formal complaints procedure and follow this. If the trader does not have a complaints procedure, we recommend you send a letter outlining the reasons for your complaint. We would suggest setting a reasonable deadline for a response, keeping a copy of any correspondence for your records and sending any letters by recorded delivery; that way the mail will be tracked and signed for. Template letters can be found here, and a sample of recorded delivery can be found here.

    What we will do

    We will notify Trading Standards of information you have provided, there is no commitment for them to contact you directly, and they will only contact you if they deem it necessary. Whilst this does not help you resolve your dispute, it gives Trading Standards vital intelligence on how a trader is conducting their business.

    If you would like to discuss this further please call us on 03454 04 05 06 or reply to this email.”

    Now I don’t know where I stand?! Has the 2015 act disappeared? Is it not an applicable law?
    If that’s the reply I got from the only source of help I have, where can I go now??

    • I think you have more rights than you actually know. I personally had an issue with a company and they tried to fob me off with similar stuff to the above. It took me a few times of contacting them to get what I wanted. I would suggest that you get the book by Complaining Cow (link on page), I found it particularly useful in my correspondences with the company at fault. I also made the company aware of the problem via Twitter, perhaps you could write a Tweet to Complaining Cow and include the company that is at fault? Also see who the director is, and threaten to deal with them directly if you do not get the response you are looking for, from a member of staff. Info in the blog post above. Also pop over to the Complaining Cow website for additional information. Hope this helps.

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