Your Rights - Do you know what they are?

Let's imagine you've just bought the latest game for your X-box, you rush home to try it out. While you've been shopping, your Mum who knew how much you wanted that game went out and bought it for you as a surprise. What do you do now, you've got two of the same game, could you take it back to the shop and ask them to give you your money back ?.

I'm guessing but I think most of you would say yes you can take it back and get your money back. WRONG answer, let me get rid of a few myths that you will have probably picked up about your rights as a shopper.

You can't take something back simply because

  • You've changed your mind
  • You didn't have time to try it on and it doesn't fit you
  • The colour, style or specifications are not what you really wanted
  • It doesn't look right with your new outfit
  • Your mum and dad have gone mad you've bought it
  • The latest model is now available

When you buy something, it is your responsibility to make sure that you know

  • What your buying
  • It will fit you
  • It's the right colour
  • It does what you want it to do

So if you're not sure it will fit, make sure you try it on, if you want the shoes to match your new outfit then take the outfit with you. It's up to you to be a responsible shopper and to make informed buying choices.

You will probably find that most stores will generally give you a refund or an exchange if you haven't damaged the goods, but there is no legal requirement for them to do so, so watch out you've been warned.

So when can I take things back and get my money back? this is a good question, this is where we look at your rights as a shopper.

Shops have a responsibility to sell products that are

  • Satisfactory in quality
  • Fit for the purpose
  • Described correctly

Let's take a look at some examples:

Satisfactory Quality

You buy a new CD player, you've had it a week and it suddenly stops working. You have got good reason to take it back to the shop and ask them for a refund, a replacement, or a repair. Lets look at another side of this if you'd dropped the CD player and then it had stopped working, then the shop is not obliged to give you a refund, replacement or a repair because you have caused the damage.

It might also be different if you'd had the CD player for 9 months when it suddenly packs in. Due to how long you've had it, then you can't really argue for a refund. The shop would more than likely offer to repair it for you or occasionally some shops may offer to replace it.

Fit for the purpose

Let's imagine you've bought a new printer for your computer, you told the Sales person what model computer you had and they said that the printer would connect to it no problem.

You get the printer home and spend ages trying to install it to your pc, but it just won't work.

In this case you have very good grounds for a refund, because you specifically asked the sales guy if it would work with your pc and he said "no problem", then you have relied on his experience and knowledge and the printer is not fit for the purpose that you made known to the sales person.

If you'd not asked the question and you had just assumed that it would connect to your pc then you would not have the right to have your money back. It's all about being an educated consumer, ask the right questions and know what you're buying, in other words do your homework before you buy.

As Described

You've wanted a remote control car and you've seen an advert in your local paper for a shop in town. The advert says the car comes with rear spoiler, alloy wheels, full body kit; it's just what you wanted.

Once you get the car home, you unpack it and then discover it doesn't have a rear spoiler. The box shows the car with a spoiler and so does the advert; you've got the right to ask for a refund if they have misdescribed the cars features.

Hopefully by giving examples it makes it easier to understand your rights. If your ever unsure about your rights as a shopper then log onto www.cd.gov.uk for useful fact sheets and help and advice.

It's always good to know where you stand before you take something back to a shop, it gives you the courage to stand your ground and argue for your rights as a shopper.