As the bargains start earlier and earlier so does the Christmas shopping! But what happens if you or the recipient change your mind, something is faulty or either of these things happen after the big day? Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow consumer blogger and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! shares her top ten tips for ensuring you know and use your rights when shopping this Christmas and how to keep the stress at bay.
1) Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to goods that are fit for purpose, match the description and last a reasonable length of time. If the item does not meet these requirements you have 30 days from purchase (not from when the recipient is given the item) to claim a refund. After the 30 days you are entitled to a replacement or repair.
2) Digital goods are also covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 but the 30 day rule does not apply to non-tangible goods, such as downloads.
3) If you buy something and you change your mind the retailer does not have to give you a refund but most big stores will do so. However, if you bought online (or actually anywhere that’s not on the retailer’s premises) then under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 you can return the item(s) for a full refund. Whether you pay return postage will depend on the company’s terms and conditions. (There are a few exemptions to this such as bespoke items). Unless the company is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 then it does not have to pay the return postage.
4) Keep the receipt, or any other proof of payment, such as credit card bill or the email confirmation. If the item is faulty you will need this to claim redress.
5) If you give the recipient a gift receipt then they can also use this to ensure their Consumer Rights Act rights.
6) Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to deliveries within a reasonable length of time. You are entitled to redress if this is not the case. Also, if you have paid for a timed or named date of delivery and this doesn’t happen then you are also entitled to this being refunded.
7) You are also entitled to any out of pocket expense you incur if a delivery doesn’t happen on the day specified. So, if you take a day off work for example to receive a delivery and it doesn’t turn up the retailer must provide redress. You will probably need to provide evidence of this.
8) If a delivery doesn’t turn up, remember that your contract is always with the company to which you gave the money. So, however much the retailer tries to fob you off and say “Contact the courier” it is the retailer that must do the chasing and provide the redress, not the courier.
9) When buying things in the sale your rights remain the same as at any other time unless the fault is pointed out at the time.
10) If you need to complain, be polite, objective and assert your legal rights. If you are not returning an item in person write rather than call wherever possible, as this provides you with a better evidence trail should you need to take the matter further. State what you want to resolve the matter and what you will do if they do not provide a satisfactory response, such as sharing the issue on social media, going to the relevant Ombudsman or Small Claims Court etc. You can also go higher in a company by using ceoemail.com which provides contact details for the CEOs of companies.
For more tips, advice, guidance, template complaint letters and your consumer rights see GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!
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