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Do you know your consumer rights?

Ever had a faulty product, missing parcel, dodgy second-hand car or delayed flight? Well, you have rights – but do you know what to do with them?

Last year, we asked 2,000 of our members about some common consumer rights misconceptions.

We found some scenarios seemed to be cut and dry – such as returning a faulty second-hand car to a dealership or staying in a room with a carpark view instead of the seaview you’d booked.

But others were a lot more confusing.

For example, we asked if it was true or false whether a landlord was responsible for all repairs and maintenance to a property.

44% said true     |     29% said false     |      27% didn’t know

The correct answer is true – but you’ll need to check your tenancy agreement as to what is the tenant’s responsibility. Usually this comes down to keeping the property in a good state of repair, changing the lightbulbs and keeping plugholes clear.

Read more about your responsibilities as tenant in our guide

Does where you shop change your rights?

We asked if you ordered a product online, you have more more rights to return it than if you ordered in-store.

40% said true, but 60% either didn’t know, or incorrectly thought you had the same rights in-store as you do online.

In fact, you have much more enhanced rights shopping online thanks to the 14-day cooling off cancellation period which doesn’t end until 14 days after you receive whatever you bought online.

Read our guide to cancelling an order for goods or services you placed online

“I’m renting and there’s mould”

We also asked if it was always the landlord’s responsibility to remove mould.

33% said true     |     27% said false     |     40% didn’t know

This answer is false as, sometimes, depending on the type of mould, it falls on the tenant’s shoulders to remove it. You can read more about which mould is whose responsibility in our free guide.

Helping resolve your queries

Here at Which? Conversation, we’re often asked to help with problems varying from delivery issues to misleading advertising and from faulty televisions to shady art dealings.

And fair enough, consumer law can be complicated with lots of grey areas and uncertainty about where to turn if you’re not being heard.

Visit Which? Consumer Rights

Have you had any problems where your consumer rights haven’t been upheld? Or any issues where your rights haven’t been clear? Tell us in the comments and we can help direct you to the right advice.

sue says:
13 March 2019

hi, please could somebody help me regarding damage made to a rug by an Aftercare Technician
who came to my home to fix a problem with my brand new sofa. Whilst working he spilt the whole cup of coffee onto my 3 day old rug, after a long battle with the aftercare company they have agreed to pay me compensation (the full cost of the rug) but they want take collection of my damaged rug in return.
I would like to know if this is legal as the rug is not their property, its mine, they haven’t bought it from me?
I just need to be clear on this matter.
thank you.


In providing full replacement compensation for your damaged rug they have the right to mitigate their loss and they presumably see residual value in your almost new [but soiled] rug. Their obligation is to put you back in the position you were in before the rug was damaged, i.e. with one new rug, not two. This seems reasonable to me.

The alternative is to claim on your home contents insurance policy, if you have new-for-old and accidental damage cover, but you would probably have an excess deducted from any compensation. Even in that situation I do not believe you would be able to keep the soiled rug unless you accepted only a partial financial settlement to represent the impairment of the value of the rug. You could then try to remove the coffee stain yourself with a proprietary cleaning product and hope for the best. As well as possible discolouration of the rug you could also end up with a stain on your no claims record and face a future premium hike.

Accepting the offer of the aftercare company at least enables you to restore a brand new and unblemished rug to your home.

Darren says:
13 March 2019

Hi, I’m after some information. I have ordered some foreign currency for an upcoming holiday. Today my wife visited the shop to collect the money but they wont let her take it as I ordered it in my name. She had ID, the order number and the card I used to pay for it with and even phoned me from the shop to explain the situation. I spoke to the assistant and she was adamant I had to collect this money myself. My thought is I have paid upfront for the money so it is legally mine and they shouldn’t withhold it. I am working away this week and most of next so will have to leave work and make a 40+ mile round trip to collect the currency, which is annoying as my wife was stood in the shop this afternoon! Does anybody know where I stand on this?
Thank you


I am not sure, but I suspect this is a consequence of the extensive controls on money transfers to prevent money laundering [the recirculation of the proceeds of crime]. I don’t quite see how it applies in currency exchange where the payment has already been made electronically rather than in banknotes, or how it stops any such illegal activity. Alternatively, it might just be one of the many odd regulations that seem to be attached to getting foreign currency.

The usual form of ID required is a photograph on an official document like a driving licence or passport which can be verified as a likeness of the person collecting the currency. I would imagine that requirement could not be satisfied in your case.

Jerry Bland says:
13 March 2019

Hello All,
We have just had a wooden cabin supplied and built in our garden… The quality of workmanship is very poor. There are numerous faults , a number being significant, draughts leaks and more.
The cabin was erected a week ago, we are bitterly disappointed ..It was a 20th wedding anniversary present for my wife. The cabin was not cheap, having UPVC windows and doors along with full insulation £8000 in total… As there are so many faults, and what ever is under the panelling inside, along with the lack of faith in the workmen, to correct the faults correctly am I correct in rejecting this and getting my money back and have them remove the cabin ?


Which? gives comprehensive guidance on the Consumer Rights Act 2015 under which all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described – See:

All products must meet the following standards:
Satisfactory quality Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive them. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question. The test is higher for a higher-priced product.
Fit for purpose The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose you made known to the retailer before you agreed to buy the goods.
As described The goods supplied must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you, at the time of purchase.

I think under ‘satisfactory quality’ you have a legitimate expectation that a reasonable standard of material has been used [commensurate with the purpose and the price of the product], that production or assembly has been undertaken competently to a suitable standard of workmanship given the nature and value of the product, and that reasonable skill and care has been used in producing a bespoke or custom-made version of the product you selected.

In relation to ‘fitness for purpose’, a garden cabin needs to be good enough to withstand the usual range of weather conditions likely to be encountered in the location identified, i.e. there should be no deformation of the structure, distress to the exterior material, or ingress of water. I would also say that it should be an attractive feature of a garden and not something that draws attention to itself for the wrong reasons.

You have the right to reject the garden cabin in return for a full refund within thirty days if it fails any of the statutory tests.

I recall two previous references to Which? Conversation in respect of garden structures that were unsatisfactory. That is probably not a high percentage of the overall sales but in both cases, as in yours, the customers’ expectations were [rightly] high and the value attached to the appearance and overall quality was considerable; these tend to be special purchases with more than the usual investment of appreciation than is the case with more utilitarian articles. The fact that they are semi-permanent, somewhat ornamental, and intended to give added enjoyment all affect the attitudes towards them. It is a great shame that you are experiencing serious problems with your cabin and I hope you can achieve a satisfactory outcome.

Jenny Kennard says:
14 March 2019

Hi I bought a nintendo switch for my son at Christmas which after 2 months stopped charging. I returned it to Nintendo and they replaced a part to enable it to charge. However when it arrived back in a badly packaged box the screen was chipped and scratched. The outer box was not damaged. I rang them and was told I would have to return it for them to repair. I said I was not prepared to do that until I received a New Switch. I reminded them of the consumer rights act 2015 and said that it was their resposibility to send me the replacement and then take it up with the post office. Nintendo after sales service is terrible. My son has not been able to play with his present which they dont seem concerned about. There is never anyone available to speak to who has the authority to do anything constructive. Am I being unreasonable or in my rights?

Emma Brereton says:
14 March 2019

Hi, I purchased a pair of flip flops from the ‘flop store’ (should have picked up on the name as a warning!). The order was placed on the 24th July 2018.
I have never received the goods, they emailed to say they were out of stock first time I questioned it, yet were available on the web site still. After many messages that were not replied to I eventually got a message in December saying

“I understand you asked for a refund and we have sent your refund to STRIPE which is our credit card processing account. They are the ones holding the money for refund.”

I had not asked for a refund – i just wanted my flip flops! Anyway I have still not received this refund and have no details of STRIPE or how to pursue this and any further communication I have sent to the flop store has not reviewed a response.

Any advice on how to move this forward would be much appreciated!

Many thanks.

Emma says:
14 March 2019

I bought a bed using PayPal but it was left on my doorstep in the rain and the box wad damaged and the headboard ripped as I was out. PayPal decided not to refund me, and the seller has said he will not accept my return. What do I do?

k clark says:
15 March 2019

I purchased a Kenwood slot in oven in Oct 2017 It was never great but now it doesn’t work at all. Curry’s don’t want to know and Kenwood are charging us £190 to just come and look at it. Surely this cannot be right.

Tracy says:
15 March 2019

ordered items from Romans Originals never received them. Asked fro a refund to be told Royal mail had reported to them delivered so that was that. I was in all day as i was off work ill, and nobody came to my door all day. I have asked for a copies of the signature of the person that did get the £76 worth of items, and know they will not even answer me. So i have lost £76 due to Royal mail saying they delivered, when they didn’t to my address.
Is there any thing i can do now, I have tried many times over the last 4 months and they won’t move on their answer or give proof of the delivery signature.

P kumar says:
17 March 2019

Laptop fire from faulty laptop battery bought from Amazon

RE:          UNI-SUN? New Laptop Battery for SAMSUNG NP-R519 NP-R520 NP-R520H NP-R522 NP-R522H Q318-DS01

I was sleeping in my bedroom, my laptop was next to my bed on the bedside cabinet table and was on charging as I was working on it previous night

I woke up with a loud noise
My laptop burst in to flame and was emitting shower of fire in all directions
Whole room was filled with smoke with smell of burning plastic
I somehow got hold of the laptop and took it out in to the kitchen sink and douces fire

It was extremely scary shocking experience and I nearly escaped unhurt.

Fire caused substantial damage, burn to the carpet, fitted furniture of the bedroom, leather bed, memory foam sprung mattress, linen, photo album and left a fine black coating everywhere

Amazon is aware of the safety issues with faulty battery

I trued to claim from Amazon but they gave denied any compensation

Caroline Mcilwraith says:
Today 08:50

I purchased a hot/cold gel pack from Amazon ( it was Amazon’s top pick). I put it in the microwave for the recommended time and upon removing it I felt I burning sensation on my hands then legs as the burning gel oozed from the bag. I managed to keep it from falling on my dog and got it to the sink. My burns are still painful two days later. What do I do? I want more than a refund as the product is dangerous and should be pulled.


That sounds very unpleasant Caroline, I hope you recover soon.

As Which? is the independent product tester and consumer champion of the UK, this is an example of a dangerous product they should acquire and test. If found to be dangerous, they should then take the necessary steps to get the product removed and assist in the prosecution of the seller for selling dangerous goods.

Several times now, I have reported glass containers that are consistently reviewed as unsafe and requested that Which? tests them. The vendor periodically removes those bad reviews and carries on selling them. Which? have not responded.

Which? needs to do a lot more than just talk about dangerous products, it needs to provide positive action to get rid of them.