Shoppers' rights apply even in the sales, says Government agency
Consumers are being warned not to let retailers rip them off when shopping in the January sales.
Consumer Direct, the Government-funded agency, said that many shoppers and sales staff don’t realise that the buyer has exactly the same statutory rights when buying sales goods as when buying full-price items.
Michele Shambrook, operations manager for Consumer Direct, said: "Many people think that if you buy goods in the sales, you forfeit your consumer rights. But don’t be fooled, you have exactly the same rights to refunds, repairs and replacements on sales goods as you would on full-price items.”
Under the various amendments and additions to the Sale of Goods Act, if consumers buy goods in the sales they are entitled to expect their purchase to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.
If this is not the case, and the goods are returned within a reasonable time (which is not defined by law, so times can vary), customers should generally be entitled to all their money back.
Shoppers also have alternate rights to ask for a replacement or repair instead of a refund if they prefer.
The same rule applies if you are buying what are called 'seconds'; you are still entitled to a product that is undamaged and fully usable.
However, consumers must be aware that if they buy damaged or faulty goods, and the defect is pointed out, then they can’t return the goods on the basis of that defect.
But the buyer can return the item and get the same protection for faulty goods if they discover something else wrong that was not pointed out.
These rights apply when buying online as well, with additional protection from the Distance Selling Regulations. However, when buying in a shop, the consumer has fewer rights to return goods that are not faulty.
In these circumstances it is up to the retailer as to whether it wishes to refund or replace goods that are not faulty.
Retailers also have the right to alter their returns policies for sales goods.
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