Consumer Rights During the Coronavirus Pandemic

2 February 2021

As the UK is in the grip of another national lockdown following the emergence of the Coronavirus / Covid 19 pandemic, many of us are  increasingly purchasing goods from home, both online and over the phone; however, what if the goods you receive are faulty?

With most shops forced to shut their doors until the current restrictions are eased, returning an item is not as straight-forward as it once was. An increase in customer contact online and over the phone has made it harder for retailers to deal with returned items. Longer return periods have been allowed by many retailers to accommodate this but it is vital that you check their returns policy before you make any purchases.

Your consumer rights have not changed through the course of the pandemic and it is now more important than ever to understand what they are and how to enforce them.

What are my consumer rights?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the Act) consolidates previous consumer legislation and makes consumer rights easier to understand. The Act covers both new and used items bought from a retailer or trader but it does not cover goods bought from a private seller, at an auction or goods bought for business use.

All goods must be of satisfactory quality (i.e. not faulty or damaged), fit for purpose and as described.

Your right to reject

If the goods you have purchased do not meet any one of the above criteria then you may be entitled to return them and receive a refund.

In the first 30 days – you are entitled to return the goods and request a full refund.

In the first 6 months – if you discover a fault within the first 6 months then there is an assumption that the fault was present at the time of purchase. You must provide the seller with one opportunity to repair the fault in a reasonable time. The seller must do this without great inconvenience to you and at their own expense. If the seller fails to repair the fault or offer you a replacement, you have the right to request a full refund.

After 6 months – if the fault occurs 6 months or more after purchase, there is an assumption that the fault was not present at the time the goods were bought and you will need to prove otherwise. In practice, this means that you are likely to need an experts report to support your claim.

What action should you take?

If you think that there is a fault with a product you have purchased then you should contact the seller immediately. If you are unable to speak to them on the phone then send an email or a letter and keep a record of your correspondence. If the seller refuses to refund or replace your faulty item then you should seek independent legal advice urgently.

At Redkite solicitors, our Dispute Resolution team regularly deal with matters both relating to consumer rights legislation and breach of contract claims. Visit our Dispute Resolution Consumer Dispute page here to find out more.

This article was written for Redkite by Joshua Jones, a legal advisor within the Dispute Resolution Team. To find out more about Joshua visit his website profile here.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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