Advice: Your rights under new consumer law

Pat Hutchinson MBE.
Pat Hutchinson MBE.

Q: I have heard that there are new consumer regulations on buying goods. Could you explain these?

A: From 1 October, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 protects you when you are buying goods, digital content and services.

Goods you buy must be:

• of a satisfactory quality

• fit for a particular purpose

• match the description, sample or model

• be installed correctly - if installation was agreed as part of the contract

If the goods you receive aren’t of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, don’t match or aren’t installed correctly, you have 30 days to return them and get a full refund.

Repair, Replacement or Refunds :

If you ask for a repair or replacement during the 30-day return period, the period will be put on hold so that you will have the rest of the period, or seven days (whichever is longer), to check if you are happy with the repair or replacement and to decide if you want to keep it.

If you claim a repair or replacement, the trader must do this:

• at no cost to you

• within a reasonable time

• without causing you significant inconvenience

You do not have to give the trader lots of chances to repair or replace the goods. If after just one failed attempt at repair or replacement, or the repair or replacement is not given to you within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction or reject the goods and get a refund.

If you reject the goods and return them, then you can claim a refund. Your refund can be reduced to take into account any use you have had from the goods, but it can’t be reduced if you have held onto the goods simply because the trader has delayed collecting them. The refund must be given within 14 days of the trader agreeing that you are entitled to it.

Right to claim:

If you discover a fault within six months of delivery and you choose to get a repair, replacement, price reduction or use your final right to reject, it be will assumed that the fault was there at the time of delivery. This is unless the trader can prove otherwise or it is obvious that the fault happened during the six months.

You cannot claim:

• for any damage you cause

• for any fault that was brought to your attention before you bought the goods

• for any obvious fault you would have seen if you examined the goods before you bought them

• if you simply change your mind about the goods you’ve bought

• for faults that appear as a result of fair wear and tear

Goods older than six months:

If more than six months have passed, you must prove the fault was there at the time of purchase or delivery. You must also prove the fault was there at the time of delivery if you use your short-term right to reject the goods. Some faults won’t appear until sometime after delivery, and in these cases it is enough to prove that there was an underlying or hidden fault at that time.

Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice– go to or www.citizensadvice.org.uk/nireland; call at: Citizens Advice Newtownabbey, Dunanney Centre, Rathmullan Drive, Rathcoole, Newtownabbey, BT37 9DQ; telephone advice is available 9am–4pm each day 028 90852271-Lunch 1:00 - 1:30pm. Email advice is available on enewtownabbey@citizensadvice.co.uk