Celebrate World Consumer Rights Day by shopping smarter online

Press release from The Complaining Cow

The 15th March 2017 is World Consumer Rights Day[1], organised and promoted by Consumers International[2]. This year’s theme is ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust.

In a world where consumers are purchasing more and more online it becomes more important for people to know their rights and how to complain when things go wrong. So what are your rights when purchasing online? Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow consumer expert and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! shares much of what you need to know!

  • Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you can reject any goods that are faulty, do not match the description or have not lasted a reasonable length of time. The seller must refund you and pay return postage in any of these events.
  • Up to 30 days after purchase you are entitled to a full refund for items that are not of satisfactory quality or do not match the description. After this time you may have to accept a repair or replacement.
  • If you have paid for a dated or timed delivery and this has not happened, you are entitled to any out of pocket expenses you incurred.
  • The above rules also apply to digital goods, such as downloaded computer software, games and films.
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015 also states that goods must be delivered within the time frame agreed with the seller. If one hasn’t been agreed (you have agreed a time frame if the listing supplies a time frame) the trader must deliver ‘without undue delay’ and at the very latest not more than 30 days from the day after the contract is made. After this time you are entitled to a full refund.
  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015 provides specific coverage for digital content. Digital content must not be supplied by the retailer within the 14 cooling-off period unless the customer has agreed to it. Once the download starts the cancellation right is lost. If the customer does not give agree to the terms then s/he will have to wait until after 14 days before downloading.
  • Your contract is ALWAYS with the company (or individual) to whom you paid the money. It is not with the courier. Do not be fobbed off when the retailer tells you to contact the courier company. Make the retailer take the time and effort to resolve the situation. It is the retailer who will also have to provide the redress, if necessary, not the courier.
  • You may think you are covered by Section 75A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 for items over £100 bought on a credit card. However, should you complete a credit card transaction through a third party payment service, the credit card provider and the seller are no longer in a direct relationship, so are not equally liable. This exception applies to PayPal, Worldpay and Google checkout, for example.

Too often consumers get fobbed off because they don’t know their rights. Dewdney says “By ensuring that these laws are observed, and seeking enforcement where necessary, consumers can make smarter choices when shopping online and get justice if things go wrong.”

For more information, advice, help and templates for complaining effectively see GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! 

Note to editors:

  • World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights. http://www.consumersinternational.org/our-work/wcrd/
  • WCRD was inspired by President John F Kennedy, who gave an address to the US congress on 15 March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so, and the consumer movement now marks that date every year as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights. The first WCRD was observed on 15 March 1983, and has since become an important occasion for mobilising citizen action.

 

 

World Consumer Rights Day 15th March 2015

Did you know? No, nor did I ’til recently and if it was news to me then hey there aren’t going to be many more people that know. How much press coverage is it getting? Not much? So far that I’ve seen not any, unless anyone would like to tell me differently?

Update – Which? sent a press release regarding healthy food in line with this year’s theme and the story was covered in the Daily Mail, Mirror and the Times but WCRD gets only a passing mention in the articles.

Background So where did this day come from? On 15 March 1962, President John F Kennedy gave an address to the US congress in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so, and the consumer movement now marks 15 March every year as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights. Hard to believe that a politician would be interested and support consumer rights huh? Yep, especially when you consider that this year the theme is healthy, affordable diets.

Healthy affordable diets Well let’s start with 1962 and John F Kennedy promoting consumer rights, internationally. Fast forward to 20teen years and the use of foodbanks (you may recall I challenged Iain Duncan Smith on these and he didn’t even know there was one in his own constituency). The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2013) GBD 2010 says that poor diets contribute to more than 11 million deaths annually and are now the number one global risk factor for death. Premature illness and disability from diet-related diseases impoverishes families, hurts productivity and bankrupts health systems.

To be fair, The Consumer Council in Northen Ireland is promoting the day  and is undertaking a survey to consumers’ thoughts on the affordability of a healthy, balanced diet. The results from this snapshot survey will inform research we’re undertaking in partnership with Food Standards Agency, Safefood, Ulster University and Vincentian Partnership for Social Justice. But can you find anything in England, Scotland or Wales? If so please can you comment below so that  can put in the link! In the meantime government agencies and the media can be shown up as wanting to do little help in this area!

Changes needed Reducing salt consumption Reducing sugar consumption  Nutrition labelling on pre-packaged foods  Healthy food in schools

What we can do Well given my ongoing relationship with Tesco perhaps I shall keep on about this to them as well!

For more information on WCRD and the theme please go to Consumers International

Consumer Rights generally A recent survey showed that fewer than 45% of people in the UK use their consumer rights. Only 7% said that they know their legal rights well  and use them regularly. 5% know the basics of the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.  But there are of course many other laws protecting consumers, including EU laws of which very people are aware.

To keep up to date with changes in consumer law (Consumer Bill coming late in the year, which amongst other things will replace the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982) and other consumer info sign up to the newsletter:

and of course if you need help in asserting your legal rights there are many tips here for complaining effectively and the up to date book on complaining effectively to always gain redress providing you with information, laws, advice, tips and templates can be found here.