What are your rights when returning faulty goods?
Sale of Goods Act
Under the act, items must be 'as described', 'fit for purpose' and 'of satisfactory quality.' This gives shoppers the right to claim for a refund, repair or replacement up to six years after purchase in England and Wales, or five years in Scotland.
Claiming a refund
To claim a refund, you should return items to the retailer in a reasonable period of time – this is normally considered to be one month but will vary. For example if you buy a pair of skis in the summer you may not realise they are faulty until you try them out in winter.
Also, you don't need a receipt although it's reasonable for a retailer to ask for proof of purchase, such as a credit card statement.
Refund, repair or replacement?
Retailers will have different refund policies. However, most will offer a replacement, or to repair an item, rather than a refund if you've had the item for longer than a month.
During the first six months after a purchase, you don't have to provide any evidence that a product was faulty at the time of sale. After this time, however, the burden of proof falls on you.
Other avenues to explore
You can claim your money back through the Small Claims Court, as long as it was bought for less than £5,000 (£3,000 in Scotland) without solicitor's fees.
Alternatively, items purchased with a credit card over the value £100 (but under the value £30,000) are protected by the Consumer Credit Act, so you can claim redress from your credit card company.
Finally, if an item is still in warranty the manufacturer has to offer you a refund, replacement or repair.
Small claims court
Courts that sit in England and Wales (Sheriffs Court in Scotland) and used by the public to resolve most consumer and personal-related disputes. “Small claims” refer to action where the monetary value involved is £5,000 or less. You can claim for faulty goods or services and even for wages owed and also bring a personal injury claim, as long as the value is under £1,000. You can also use small claims court if you’re a tenant claiming against your landlord for repairs that total less than £1,000. It’s worth noting that, even if you lose your case, you won’t have to pay the other side’s costs.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.