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Most of us buy something every day some (like me) more than most! I receive a great many queries about consumer rights and thought it would be helpful to explain the current law. All consumer contracts are protected by what is known as implied rights. These are terms and conditions that the law automatically gives you via the Sale of Goods Act 1979. These rights last for up to six years from date of purchase and give you some legal basis by which to deal with faulty or substandard goods.
Goods should be:
Private sales however DO NOT benefit from any of these rights except for ‘as described’.
Retailers often blame the manufacturer or tell you that the complaint is not covered by the warranty. This is not correct.You bought from the retailer, so that’s with whom you have your contract and your implied rights. The manufacturer has no contract with you and no obligations to sort out a problem either. Retailers are entitled to examine any faults and if necessary let the manufacturer do the same in order to establish what the fault is. Warranties are in addition to your statutory rights and cannot be relied upon by the retailer bypass your rights.
If you have purchased faulty goods you must complain to the retailer within a reasonable period of time, this is not clearly defined but is usually determined as being weeks rather than months. This means you should complain as soon as possible after the defect becomes apparent. If the problem occurred within a reasonable period of time from date of purchase, the law entitles you to a series of options. Refund, compensation, replacement or repair. You can decide which you prefer.
If however, the fault occurred after this reasonable period of time then you lose the automatic right to a refund and must accept one of the other three options. It is unfair to expect a retailer to compensate someone when a replacement part is available and the consumer must be realistic if this is offered.
However, it is a requirement that for the first six months after purchase, it is up to the retailer to demonstrate that any goods that are sold are not sold in a faulty state. This means that if the matter proceeds to court, the retailer must prove that the goods were not faulty when sold or became so within a reasonable time after purchase.
There are some areas where you have no rights at all to anything under the Sale of Goods Act.
Finally, in our experience, a little firm but polite persistence goes a long way – Happy Shopping!