The following post is an entry by the Consumer Rights Intiative, a student-run scheme founded by Scott Girling [UWE STUDENT]
Looking to bag a bargain this November? If that’s the case then you’ve probably got your sights set on this year’s Black Friday. As you already know, Black Friday is perhaps the biggest shopping event of the year, with stores everywhere cutting their prices. In recent years, some shops have changed this to a whole week of discounts. This event also extends to online shopping, allowing you to find the best deals from the comfort of your own home. Due to its popularity, videos of shoppers scrapping over goods appear on sites like YouTube every year. Today however, we’re not going to discuss unfortunate shoppers getting trampled, instead we are going to turn our focus to your rights as a consumer.
So, let’s say you’ve seen a new HD TV on display playing various channels. It’s advertised at a great price, has a well-known brand label on the box and is the latest model with built in Freeview included too. This is when you buy it, take it home and get it out of the box, only to discover that looks more like something from the early nineties. Not to panic, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) is there to help. Under the CRA, any goods being sold must be:
- Of satisfactory quality (section 9)
- Fit for a particular purpose (section 10)
- Be as described (section 11)
- Match any sample provided (section 13)
- Match any model provided (section 14)
But what does all of this mean exactly, and how does this help you? Well, if any one of these sections were breached then you can use your consumer rights to get your issue sorted. Let’s go back to that ‘new’ off brand TV you’ve got lying around. Since it’s pretty clear that it is not what was advertised on the box, it’s in breach of section 11, since the product does not match the description. Remember that Freeview that was advertised? Well it turns out that it can’t pick up any channels, therefore section 10 has been breached. Section 14 has been breached because doesn’t match what was out on display. If you argue that section 9 has been breached, whether or not it is satisfactory quality is judged by the normal person’s standards. This may seem like a lot, but thankfully, you only need to find one section to be breached.
Now you’ve found that at least one section in breach, you can use section 22. This section gives you a ‘short term right to reject’, allowing you to seek a refund within 30 days of the purchase or delivery taking place. Perhaps it turns out (for whatever bizarre reason) that the wrong TV ended up in the box and you still want a TV. You can ask for the trader to replace the TV. Repairs are also available if appropriate. This right is covered under section 23 and requires the trader to replace or repair the goods at their own expense, within a reasonable time and without inconveniencing you. If you get it back and you get another broken, retro TV you can exercise your final right to reject or a price reduction. You’ll find this right under section 24. You can use this if you’ve given the trader one chance to repair or replace the item and it’s been no more than six months since you first purchased the goods. Once the trader agrees to provide a refund, they must do this within 14 days.
So there you have it. Now you know what to do if something really is too good to be true. Hopefully you won’t face any problems with your Black Friday shopping and now, with these few bits of law behind you, there’ll be a whole lot less to worry about.
Image ‘Shopping’ by Nick Verron © Creative Commons