Do you know your rights? Don't get taken for a ride in the hunt for sales bargains
South Tyneside shoppers are being urged to remember their rights as they head off to exchange Christmas presents or bag a bargain in the sales.
The borough council's Trading Standards Team is reminding people of the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which was updated last year and gives buyers greater protection.
The Consumer Rights Act simplifies and clarifies consumer law, provides new cover for consumers buying digital content, such as music downloads or e-books, and sets out what should happen when goods or services do not live up to their description.
If a problem does occur, the Act makes it easier for disputes between consumers and businesses to be settled. It also aims to help encourage businesses to improve their goods, services and customer relations.
Under the Act retailers are now obliged to give consumers a full refund on items that turn out to be faulty, for up to 30 days after the purchase. Consumers are also entitled to a replacement or full refund for digital content purchases if they are not as described by the seller, of a satisfactory quality or fit for purpose.
Coun Nancy Maxwell, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "The new Consumer Rights Act makes it easier for shoppers to understand their rights and simplifies the law for businesses.
"Having this knowledge will enable consumers to return faulty or unwanted items with greater confidence. It is also very useful for people to know their consumer rights while out looking for bargains in the New Year."
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 Â£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 www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer