/ Money, Shopping

Stay savvy with your rights and save money

Child with text book

Knowing your consumer rights can really help get you out of sticky situations. I used to buy extended warranties and insurance for things I was probably covered for – until I joined the consumer rights team….

Well, now I know that if a product you’ve bought develops a fault, your statutory rights mean you can reject it and get your money back, or you can have it replaced or repaired. Remember, no retailer should ignore your rights under the Sale of Goods Act – warranty or no warranty!

Wavechange once told us:

‘In my experience, shop staff are often unaware of the SOGA and one young man in Currys actually told me that it didn’t apply to them. My suggestion to anyone seeking repair or replacement of goods is to be polite and take along a printout of the relevant information on the Which? website. This is clear and easy for shop assistants to understand. ’

No receipt? You still have rights

Don’t forget, the Sale of Goods Act applies to everyone. Even if you don’t have a receipt, you still have rights. And if it all goes wrong? Although it should be viewed as a last resort, there is the small claims court – which allows you to claim up to £10,000 in England and Wales.

Now, a few weeks ago my 91-year-old grandmother was phoned up by some scammers trying to get her to give over her bank details. Fortunately she didn’t give them anything – no one crosses my grandma.

But if you’ve been the victim of a card scam, usually the most you’ll stand to lose is £50 because the bank should refund the rest. You should explain to your bank exactly what happened, giving them as much detail as possible.

Delays and disappointing goods

Did you also know that if your flight is under 932 miles (if someone whisked you away to Venice for example) and delayed for at least two hours, you can get free hotel accommodation and hotel transfers if an overnight stay is required?

You also have the right to cancel most online orders up to seven working days from the day after you receive the goods? Something that could come in very handy if you’ve bought something that didn’t quite look how it did on the website, as I did recently when my new winter coat turned out to be the thickness of paper.

Did any of these rights surprise you? Have you had success exercising your consumer rights before? We’d love to hear your stories.


“Have you had success exercising your consumer rights before? We’d love to hear your stories”

There are already too many conversation topics on this. Why don’t you start a campaign instead?

Sorry but I disagree with you, Wev. My experience is that most people don’t have much of a clue about the Sale of Goods Act, though most have heard of it. I bore my friends explaining it and perhaps you do the same. 🙂

There is a widely held belief that once goods are out of warranty there is no point in even asking for help and those who do often approach the manufacturer rather than the retailer. It would be good if the documentation with purchases, particularly expensive items, outlined consumers’ rights.

Though raising awareness of consumers’ rights is a useful interim measure, I think the top priority must be to push for longer manufacturers’ warranties. If manufacturers have to foot the bill for repairs, the quality and durability of goods is likely to improve.

Car manufacturers seem to be leading the way with extended warranties and ‘goodwill’ support for those who have problems. That makes sense because cars are expensive purchases. The warranties have exclusions to protect the manufacturer, but these exclusions are usually reasonable. A friend has just purchased a new Hyundai, and the seven year warranty was the deciding factor.

I believe that the length of the manufacturer’s warranty should be a significant factor in selecting Which? Best Buys. The length of a warranty is something that everyone can relate to and I suspect that most people know the reputation of John Lewis. JL definitely needs some competition.

I’m game for a campaign, Wev – but how about one for longer warranties?

As a JLP TV warranty fan I looked through their listed makes – even a make I have never heard of (Linsar) with prices down to £109 have a 5 year warranty. Presumably all the makes they sell are regarded as sufficiently reliable to justify a 5 year trouble-free life – perhaps with their buying-power they do a deal with their suppliers. Why don’t others compete with this? I wonder if when you do a price match JLP exclude competitors unless the same warranty is included – anyone experienced this?

The question of including warranties longer than 12 months – more related to expected trouble-free lives – has been discussed before and I imagine we are all in favour.

Where I would like to see some action is in publishing what trouble free lives we should expect from different product groups. It may be we would be more confident about tackling a retailer or manufacturer about a defective product if we could point to authoritative information about what we should reasonably expect from the product. Which? (and their European equivalents) should have enough information to help us with this. Can they?

I had not heard of Linsar either, but it seems to be a British company making TVs in the UK and selling via John Lewis. That’s a bit of a novelty these days and I am surprised that the prices are not higher. It was sad to see British radio and TV manufacturers gradually disappear and it would be good to see a revival of manufacture of everyday products and not just specialist HiFi separates etc.

I suspect that retailers offering extended warranties take a gamble on product reliability because well respected companies sometimes produce some poor products, and we have had a few examples feature in the Conversations.

I agree that some thought needs to go into how long a product should last. My suggestion is that most larger appliances should be designed to last ten years, though with washing machines, dishwashers and other mechanical appliances this could be ten years or a fixed number of hours or cycles – much in the same way that cars often come with warranties or X years or Y miles, whichever comes first.

On the other hand, it would not make sense to have a ten year warranty for a mobile phone, which (for most people) will be obsolete in a couple of years and is likely to treated roughly because it is small and portable.

It would be great if Which? could get together with its European counterparts and push for extended warranties. Though I respect retailers such as John Lewis that offer longer warranties, it would be easier for the consumer to make price comparisons if the manufacturers gave these warranties.

Correction. Linsar TVs are not made in the UK, though that is not apparent from their website. 🙁

Linsar sell through retailers other than John Lewis and offer a 5 year warranty on their products.

“It would be good if the documentation with purchases, particularly expensive items, outlined consumers’ rights.”

Good, or get the retailers and shops to display them on websites and instore

“If manufacturers have to foot the bill for repairs, the quality and durability of goods is likely to improve.”

Are we wanting recyclability and biodegradibility at the same time?

“I believe that the length of the manufacturer’s warranty should be a significant factor in selecting Which? Best Buys”

I agree, but you need to look at the small print for terms and conditions. No good having a long warranty if the shop excuses itself

“I’m game for a campaign, Wev – but how about one for longer warranties?”

Sure, but getting Which to help will be hard. They already don’t want to campaign on market research calls.

What does the law say now, and which bits need to be changed?


I agree that consumers’ rights should be well publicised. Some of our retailers have done too much to make customers believe that they have no redress if they have a problem more than a year after purchase of goods.

What I have in mind is longer warranties from manufacturers rather than retailers. That would mean that a particular washing machine, for example, would always have the same warranty, making price comparisons easier. I agree that it is important to look at the T&C’s.

I don’t understand your point about recyclability and biodegradability. Making products that last longer does not necessarily affect either – other than by delaying when the products are scrapped.

Hopefully we will see more of our Convo regulars pushing for longer warranties, and maybe a bit more support when we are banging on about market research calls being nuisance calls. 🙂

Following on from the Which? article of washing machines that did a 60C wash at 43C I sought an owner of a HooverDYN8163D8P – 80 as I though it would be an excellent example of consumer rights against the passing off of unsatisfactory machines and lying about wash temperatures.

I found this post here:

However my posting of advice that it was returnable under the Sale of Goods Act does not seem to have remained on the site and I have not been contacted. I will repost.

Bankers Bane says:
9 November 2013

The interesting thing about Flo’s grandmother’s problem is this: If she had allowed the scammers to attack her bank account by any route other than through her card, she would have lost every farthing. The bank would have denied any liability, and blamed her for any losses.

This is just one of the many irrational inconsistencies that you encounter when dealing with our banks. Fairness doesn’t come into it.

I’ve just come across an interesting situation exercising my ‘sale of goods’ rights with Currys. A (Which? recommended) washing machine broke down within 6 months & I contacted the phone number on their website. This connected with their service arm ‘Knowhow’. The service they (Knowhow) provided was atrocious and I phoned them again. As soon as I mentioned the sale of goods act, they denied all responsibility, as they said they were not Currys. They also said they didn’t have a Currys contact number.
Back to the website and I contacted the email address there – customer.services@currys.co.uk. Back came an acknowledgement… from Knowhow.
Eventually, I went to the local Currys shop (where the manager said all he could do was contact Knowhow).

I hope you have had your washing machine sorted out, Eric. As far as I know, ‘Knowhow’ and Currys are both part of Dixons Retail.