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Know your Rights

Under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980, anything you buy from a retailer must be:

  • of merchantable quality
  • fit for its normal purpose, and reasonably durable
  • as described, whether the description is part of the advertising or wrapping, on a label, or something said by the salesperson.
  • When you buy goods from a retailer, you make a contract with him. He agrees to provide certain goods to you for a certain price. If your purchase turns out to be faulty, the retailer, not the manufacturer, is responsible to you and must sort out your complaint. You are entitled to a refund, a replacement or a repair.

You do not have to take a credit note if your complaint is covered by the Sale of Goods Act. You can insist on a refund, a replacement or a repair.

If you have a genuine complaint about faulty goods, you can ignore shop notices such as ‘No Refunds’ or ‘No Exchanges’. Such notices cannot take away any of your statutory rights under the Sale of Goods Act see Retailers’ responses.

You have no rights under the Sale of Goods Act if you simply change your mind about wanting the goods. You also have no rights if faults are due to misuse of the product after purchase, or if faults should have been seen on examination or were pointed out at the time of purchase.

The person who purchased the goods holds the rights under the Act. If you receive the goods as a gift, you have no contract with the retailer and don’t have the same rights. In practice, most retailers will oblige the user of the goods but this is a gesture of goodwill, not a legal requirement.

Your rights under the Act also apply to goods purchased at sale prices. They must be of merchantable quality, fit for their particular purpose and as described. If goods are being sold as seconds or shop-soiled, however, you cannot expect the same standard.

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