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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.

Comments

I have an apple iPhone se on contract with Three, I’ve had it 23 months (contract is 24 months) – the screen decided to go blank, I went back to three and was basically told my 12 month guarantee was over, I then went to apple and they couldn’t find anything wrong with it – but still couldn’t restore it – and was told by them ‘hard luck’ nothing we can do. Surely this is a manufacturing fault – do I have any rights ?

This might sound unusual Lorri but Apple might have a point, its a common fault
try this-
https://www.smartphonetics.com/apple/how-to-fix-black-screen-problem-on-iphone-x-iphone-xr-iphone-xs-iphone-xs-max/
or from Apple support-
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201412

If it is a common fault then I would have thought Apple could correct it. If they say there is nothing they can do then, unless the iPhone has been damaged, I’d suggest it is not “durable” and a claim should be threatened under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. An expensive phone that has not been misused should last a lot longer than 23 months.

Let’s hope the fixes you link to do the job.

I agree with Malcolm – a premium priced product like an iPhone should last longer than 23 months.

Agreed. If you’d got it from Apple directly, I’m certain they would have fixed it.

It might be worth trying the advice on Apple website – see Duncan’s post. I am a little suspicious about what Lorri has been told that Apple cannot fix the phone. Apple often quote a price for an exchange reconditioned product.

Lorri can make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act against Three or whichever company sold the phone. If it was bought from Apple, I doubt that they would turn away a customer (as Ian says) unless there is evidence of misuse, for example water damage or that it has been dropped.

The CRA provides customers with statutory rights that last for six years in England and five in Scotland. The manufacturer’s guarantee has expired and can now be ignored.

Hi, last month I bought a bike online for my son. We found a defect when buidling it, and the sellet asked us to send it back. We asked for a replacement instead of a refund, and they said it would be possible, but as soon as they received it they refunded us. Now the bike is much more expensive than when we bought it and they say they can’t do anything now that our payment has been refunded. Is there a way to oblige them to send us a new bike for the initial price of purchase? Thanks.

Horza-if goods are not of satisfactory quality ,fit for purpose or as described you are entitled to-
1-a refund
2-repair
3-replacement
In refunding you they have made you “whole ” financially, not always given by a company .
I cant find anywhere where the customer can force which of the three the company must adhere to but if anybody knows different ?
Saying -“it would be possible ” is not a legal definition of a contract.

This is an example given in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 guidance (for the seller):
“FAQ 21 Am I obliged to repair/replace if I’d rather provide a refund? For example, where the consumer buys a bed for £200 in a 50% sale, I would rather not replace it with the £400-worth bed. Yes, if the consumer is entitled to a repair or replacement, you cannot refuse to provide this and give a refund instead (assuming a repair or replacement is possible). However, nothing would prevent you from offering a refund if the consumer agrees to accept it, provided you do not deny them the options of repair or replacement. A refund would be of the price paid, £200 in this example. If the faulty bed could be repaired to address the relevant issue with it, and this was cheaper than giving the replacement and would not cause significant inconvenience to the consumer, you could insist on repair.“.

Thanks for the correction Malcolm , I did not realise a customer could force their choice on the seller , its obvious most people don’t know this having read many website complaints on this subject .
Maybe Which ? could give this more publicity ?

Thanks for your help, I’ll contact the vendor again to try and obtain a replacement.

@duncan-lucas This comment has got me thinking about a few things. Very early days but I am looking at some ways to give all the consumer rights areas more publicity.

Nick Trow says:
15 September 2019

Hi, I purchased an expensive Tag Heuer digital smart watch and on Friday it developed a fault where I cannot turn the screen on using the side crown. I checked my warranty today and could not believe my eyes when it says my 2 year warranty ran out yesterday (14/09/19) and today is 15/09/19, just my luck to check it 1 day after the warranty expired, do I still have any rights or will I have to pay for my repair?
Thanks so much for any advice/guidance given.

Try this first Nick-
1. Press and hold down the power button until watch restarts (about 15 seconds)
2. During the boot up animations (TAG’s logo, Intel’s logo, or the swirling balls), press and hold the crown and simultaneously swipe from top left to bottom right, then release crown (You can repeat this process until the screen blacks out and the boot process restarts)
3. The watch will boot to an image of the Android character on his back. Long press the power button for about 5 seconds and release. You should see the “Android system recovery” menu.
4. Short press the power button three times to go down the menu to highlight “wipe cache partition”
5. Long press for 3 seconds to select “wipe cache partition” and confirm your selection
6. Short press the power button twice to go down the menu to highlight “wipe data/factory reset”
7. Long press for 3 seconds to select “wipe data/factory reset” and confirm your selection
8. Select “reboot system now’. Long press for 3 seconds to select
9. Watch will restart to the Welcome screen. This will take less than 2 minutes.

Thanks so much Duncan Lewis, I have tried the steps you gave but alas nothing. It seems the crown has stopped working as I can get the screen on it on from the app on my phone but it only stays there for a couple of seconds before going blank again also it will not recognise my touch when this happens. The watch is actually on and connected via Bluetooth to my phone but no screen. It’s as if the crown has stuck down somehow rendering everything useless, I think it definitely needs to go in for repair. The actual fault happened just while it was in warranty but there was nothing I could do over the weekend as I’ve looked on the Tag Heuer warranty webpage and it seems I have to send it to them by mail which will obviously mean when it arrives to them the warranty will have expired. Why couldn’t the darn thing break down just one week earlier? Bad luck I guess..

If there is no damage to indicate any misuse or abuse and you get no sensible offer to fix it, I’d suggest you tell the retailer the watch fails to meet a contract condition of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in that it has failed too early in its life to be acceptable and thus lacks reasonable “Durability”. See earlier posts with a link to CRA guidance. If necessary you can consider threatening them with an action in the small claims court.

I’d copy the manufacturer for their information. They may be helpful or may not want any adverse publicity. Contacting Which? Legal would be useful for professional advice. They may even consider it for a “Case study” if a first approach fails to get an acceptable result.

Your right Malcolm Tag Heuer have a big reputation to uphold and I know they value it ,contact them directly and considering that their watches are very expensive and the amount of money out-laid I would be surprised if they did not help you in some way.

Thanks so much for your reply malcom r, I have sent it to Tag Heuer now along with the warranty card plus a note explaining what happened regarding the watch failing so all I can do now is wait and see what they say and if I get no joy out of them then I will take your advice and contact Which legal team also for further advice.

Thanks duncan lucas.

Thanks Nick. Hope you’ll let us know the outcome.

sports direct are refusing to offer a refund for a pair of training shoes bought as a present and the wrong size.
They don’t have the correct size in the chosen version but will only offer a credit note although i dont want any other shoe>

Sports Direct are within their rights not to offer a refund. Retailers are not obliged to refund the price of goods bought on the premises but not suitable. They are not required to give a credit note either. Stores that give refunds or credit notes do so as acts of goodwill, but not all traders understand that concept.

When buying goods for others it is a good precaution to ask about the seller’s refund or exchange policy in the event they do not fit or are not suitable.

If they were bought in store then, as John says, there is no obligation to refund. It is wise to ask for a gift receipt when purchasing; many stores offer these and can be used to exchange goods if they are not suitable – incorrect size for example. If you bought the shoes online the situation is different; you have 14 days to return the goods for a refund.

Camilia says:
16 September 2019

I have placed an order for a car and was verbally told in front of my partner that the maximum delivery of the car would be by August end. I have sold my car in a rush and have since been severely inconvenienced as for 2 months I have no way to drive my child to her play which is paid for plus my gym and many other things that I have not been able to do as I do not have a car.

What are my rights for sales person misleading me into this sale by telling me a date and stressed me with a fast sale of my current car.

It will depend on whether time was the essence of the contract and delivery of the new car by the date quoted was therefore an implied contractual condition. You might need professional legal advice and I would suggest you start with Citizen’s Advice.

You should claim for compensation for any out-of-pocket expenses [e.g taxis] and losses [e.g. periods of gym membership] and seek the provision of a car in the meantime pending delivery of your new car to put you back in the position you would have been in if the new car had been delivered on time.

The details of your new car, including a delivery date, should be on the paperwork that the dealer gave, or sent you, after your order was placed. That paperwork should form a contract between yourself and the dealer. Did that give a delivery date?

Alex B says:
17 September 2019

Hi, looking for some advice / opinion.
I purchased a brand new motorcycle on 15th April (approx £9k) it developed a leak at the beginning of August the day after its 1st service at dealership. I returned it to the dealership on the 12th August and they have confirmed that it has a manufacturing fault with the “head” so a repair would be carried out under warranty. This work is proving to be very extensive, whole engine out of bike and complete rebuild of the top half of the engine. I still do not have the bike back and the work is not yet complete. This means that the bike has been in the garage for 25% of the time that I have owned it it has only carried out 833 miles. I am reluctant to accept the repair on the basis that I have been deprived of my bike for so long and despite it being a warranty repair this is not a faulty switch or something minor this is a wholesale rebuild of the engine. This doesn’t give me much faith in the product or its longevity …..Dealer is telling me that is being repaired under warranty and so should be fine when done.
Any suggestions ?
Thank you

Hi Alex,

Here are our pages on your rights around new cars which will apply to motorbikes as well. Unfortunately you do have to give the seller an opportunity to repair or replace before you are legally entitled to a refund. However as your motorcycle has been in the garage for so long you could push for a refund as you could argue they have not been able to repair it within a reasonable time frame.
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/my-new-car-is-faulty-can-i-get-it-fixed-or-claim-a-refund

Guidance to the Consumer Rights Act is given here and deals with the inconvenience of an unreasonable delay in repairing – https://www.businesscompanion.info/sites/default/files/CRA-Goods-Guidance-for-Business-Sep-2015.pdf

“You must provide the repair or replacement within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience to the consumer. This means that if the repair/replacement work takes too long, or causes significant inconvenience to the consumer, the consumer would have the right to reject the goods for a refund or demand some money back (see “7. The Final Right to Reject or Reduction in Price (2nd tier remedies)” for further detail on these remedies). ….
On the other hand, once the consumer has asked for a repair or replacement they must allow you a reasonable time to complete the work without changing their mind and opting for the other approach or rejecting the goods using the 30 day right to reject. However, if it would cause the consumer significant inconvenience to allow you this time, then they do not have to do so.
To decide whether significant inconvenience has occurred, the nature of the goods and the purpose for which the consumer acquired them are to be taken into account. Beyond this, the Act does not specify what counts as significant inconvenience as the impact on the consumer will vary from case to case, but the consumer must be able to demonstrate that they have been significantly affected in some way – it is not sufficient for them to simply change their mind. Significant inconvenience is a broad concept. Factors that could be considered in determining whether significant inconvenience has been incurred in particular cases could include – but are not limited to –impact on health or safety, financial loss, whether the consumer has access to an alternative or temporary replacement

7. The consumer may exercise the final right to reject or right to a reduction in price in the following situations:
……..4. The consumer asked for a repair or replacement, but it has not been done in a reasonable time or without significant inconvenience to the consumer.

Alex B says:
17 September 2019

Thank you

Alex B says:
17 September 2019

Thank you

🙂

Francis Tomaselli says:
17 September 2019

I used a online incorporation company they added a trade mark fee which I didn’t authorize and then double charged me. They said they would refund the charges but I have not received an email stating that yet how long should I give them before disputing the charges with my bank.

Hi
I purchased an item online and it went faulty within 3 months.
The company I purchased from arranged collection and it has been with the courier for two weeks now and tracking the collection shows this.
When I phone the company I purchased the item from they say they will chase it up with the warehouse department and phone me back. However no one does phone me back. What can I do or how long do I have to wait before I can do anything, if anything at all.

Margaret williams says:
18 September 2019

I entered into a contract with a large national upholstery firm in March 2019 I paid my deposit and they said the process would be 9 weeks from order to completion despite many calls emails etc I still do not have my suite it’s now been 29 weeks not only causing stress and total inconvenience as my husband is disabled I have had to send a letter obtained from consumer protection only now they’ve responded and promised my suite delivery next week they have offered a £350 reduction off the bill considering they’ve had £1000 of my money since March how do I know if this is reasonable after such a delay has anyone had similar experience they could share please

Mark barnes says:
18 September 2019

Are toasters covered under this act
My friend has been told it’s not as it’s a item that is used regular and comes under fair use policy
Don’t believe that myself
It’s a £180 Smeg toaster just out of warranty

Most products are covered. I’ve given a link to guidance to consumer rights 4 comments up – https://www.businesscompanion.info/sites/default/files/CRA-Goods-Guidance-for-Business-Sep-2015.pdf
Worth a read to see how best to deal with your problem. The retailer is responsible for giving you your rights and they can be prosecuted if they don’t. I’d make your case to them based on the CRA and if that gets a negative response, copy the manufacturer. If still no luck and you believe you have a good claim, try Which? Legal or tell the retailer that if they deny your consumer rights you will go to the small claims court. I’d suggest inadequate “Durability” (lack of a reasonable trouble-free life given the relatively short time it has been used and the price) would be an appropriate claim.