Shoppers urged to know rights about faulty electrical item purchases

Shoppers are being urged to know their rights when it comes to returning goods after research found two-thirds of people have had a problem with a faulty electrical item in the past two years.

A survey from Citizens Advice found 66% of people have had an issue with a faulty electrical item such as a TV, a mobile phone or a household appliance in the last two years.

Just over half of people surveyed (53%) asked the retailer to provide a refund, replace the item or repair the product.

But around one in four (28%) said the retailer turned them away, either redirecting them to the manufacturer or refusing to help.

However, 61% of those who were initially turned away eventually got some form of redress after being persistent, the survey of more than 1,000 people from across the UK found. 

Citizens Advice, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have launched National Consumer Week, a national campaign to help shoppers understand their consumer rights.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "People shouldn't be left out of pocket because an item they've bought is faulty.

"It's important to understand your rights so you know when a retailer has to offer you a solution.

"While some shoppers faced resistance at first, the majority did get the repair, refund or replacement they were entitled to - so don't be afraid to stand your ground.

"Retailers must also recognise their responsibilities to shoppers so they know when to help people, instead of turning them away."

Here are some tips from Citizens Advice on what to do when an item is faulty:

:: Do not attempt to fix it yourself - this could stop you getting redress because it will make it harder to prove you did not cause the fault. You may also risk injuring yourself.

:: Return it to the retailer - it is the responsibility of the retailer to help you to resolve the problem, not the manufacturer. They should cover the costs of returning the item - contact them first to check the best way to do this and to negotiate an option that is most convenient for you.

:: If an item was bought within the last 30 days you can get a refund on a faulty product.

:: If it was bought within the last six months you are entitled to have it repaired or replaced once. If the item still does not work you should get a full refund.

:: If it was bought more than six months ago you may still get a repair or replacement but you may only get a partial refund to reflect the use you have had out of the item. You will need to prove you did not cause the fault which may make it harder to get redress. These rights apply to items bought after October 1 2015.

Consumer Minister Margot James said: "Consumer rights are there to protect you when something goes wrong with a product or service - never be afraid to use them.

"The Government simplified consumer law last year and National Consumer Week is the perfect time for people to learn about their rights and for retailers to check they are doing right by their customers."

Read Full Story