Your rights on returning Christmas gifts and bagging bargains as South Tyneside trading standards offer advice

Sales shoppers are being reminded of their rights and warned of the pitfalls as trading standards officers offer some tips for the festive season.

Wednesday, 29th December 2021, 4:55 am
Consumers are being reminded of their rights

As people head out to exchange Christmas presents or bag a bargain in the sales, South Tyneside Council’s Trading Standards Team is reminding people of the protections they enjoy under leglislation.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers a multitude of topics and aims to simplify and clarify consumer law.

It provides new cover for consumers buying digital content, such as music downloads or ebooks, and sets out what should happen when goods or services do not match up to what was agreed.

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Councillor Ernest Gibson, ead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “The Consumer Rights Act makes it easier for shoppers to understand their rights and simplifies the law for traders.

"Having this knowledge will enable consumers to return faulty or unwanted items with greater confidence. Knowing your rights can also take some of the stress out of bargain hunting in the New Year sales.”

Under the Act retailers are obliged to give consumers a full refund on items that turn out to be faulty, for up to 30 days after the purchase.

However a retailer’s obligations are slightly different for digital content; consumers are entitled to a repair or replacement if they are not as described by the seller, of a satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.

Shops often go over and above legal rights, offering refunds or exchanges on items which aren’t faulty.

However, they are under no legal obligation to do so.

If bought online, by phone or mail order, most items can be returned and refunded if done quickly, no matter what the reason.

South Tyneside Trading Standards Team has the following tips for consumer confidence:

:: Keep all receipts, including gift receipts, as proof of purchase;

:: If items turn out to be faulty, consumers are entitled to a full refund from the retailer for up to 30 days after purchase;

:: Gifts paid for by credit card costing more than £100 affords consumers additional protection through the credit card company

:: People who change their mind about a purchase bought in store are not automatically entitled to a refund or exchange, unless it is faulty. Many retailers have generous returns policies. Some offer a replacement or credit note as a goodwill gesture but it is not a legal requirement;

:: Online shoppers have the right to return goods (except bespoke and perishables) and receive a full refund, no questions asked, within 14 days of goods being delivered. They also have the right to receive that refund within 14 days of returning the goods;

:: When entering into a service contract online consumers have the right to cancel that service within 14 days provided that work hasn’t started within that period;

:: Online traders must provide a description of the goods or services, the total price, delivery costs, details of cancellation rights and their full contact details. If traders fail to provide this information, consumer cancellation rights could be extended by up to one year.

For consumer advice contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 0506 or visit