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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

Has Amazon UK stopped letting people write comments on other people’s reviews?

Wendy Coupar says:
28 March 2021

A purchase from Curry’s on 31st January resulted in 2 faulty fridges, both returned To date I am waiting for the 3rd delivery and after 3 email complaints, 3 webchats ( copied for evidence)and 1 phone call, I still have no fridge.

Hi Ms Coupar,

I am sorry to hear about your issues with Curry’s.

As per the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you are entitled to ask for the fridge to be either repaired or replaced. This should be done within a reasonable amount of time and without significant inconvenience. Eventually, you can also exercise your final right to reject. This means asking for a refund as Curry’s has not delivered a working fridge to you within a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately, the law does not provide guidance as to what is regarded as “reasonable.” This will be a question of fact.

It is worth putting your concerns in writing and send a hard copy letter to the Company’s registered address.

I hope the information above is of assistance.

If you do require any further tailored legal advice, then please do call in to Which? Legal to explore our membership options.

This information is provided by Which? Legal. To join call 01174 054 854 or visit Which? Legal to find out more.

Evgeni Hristov
Which? Legal – Legal Adviser

@evgeni-hristov, Evgeni, Wendy Coupar’s complaint is just one of many against Curry’s. Some, many, of those complaints appear to show CPCW acting illegally by denying customers their rights under the CRA. And yet Which? take no effective action to try to stop CPCW behaving in this way.

Is it not time they helped an aggrieved customer take them to court? Can Which? not work with Trading Standards to try to change CPCW’s behaviour? Must we just be left to tolerate a delinquent company? Or has the poor perception of Currys been overblown and they are not that bad?

Does Which? have a view on how it can make Curry’s disaffected customers as powerful as the organisation “ they have to deal with ( to reword a mission statement 🙂 ).

I recently purchased a CD box set from the Square Enix online store (https://store.eu.square-enix-games.com/en_GB?_ga=2.44377188.1900796839.1618037513-305531329.1618037513). On arrival, the plastic box of the set was smashed, having been posted with only an extremely loose jiffy bag for protection. I contacted the store, which confirmed that they would replace the item if I returned the defective one.

However, they are only willing to reimburse my postage costs for sending back the broken CDs as a credit voucher for future purchases from their store. I cannot see mention of this approach on the store’s terms and conditions, which state “The delivery cost of returning a faulty Product, up to the value of 15 euro, will be reimbursed only if it has been verified to be faulty by the Reseller.”.

I could understand their refusing to give a straightforward reimbursement of my postage costs if I had changed my mind about the product, but this is simply returning faulty goods. I already incurred extra costs due to the store’s request that I return the broken product with tracked shipping. Am I right in thinking that I should press the store on the matter?

I recently had my 6th Warranty replacement of a FitBIt Versa go faulty again. Up to recently fit have replaced the item. On my latest contact with them the only thing they have offered me is a 35% discount on a new one. The last brand new replacement they sent was in June last year and went faulty in March this year.

Fitbit have only come back with:
“Although your device is outside the scope of Fitbit’s warranty terms, we want to offer you a 35% discount on a new Fitbit device.”

When I complained that this was not good enough and I wanted wither a replacement or better discount, Fitbit replied

“Since this is a replacement device, the warranty would still be based on the original device and not the replacement. And as of now, this is the best discount code we have available for your device’s warranty”

Any help much appreciated.

Fitbit is right about the original purchase date being the one that matters. I’m surprised that they have not given you a full refund by now, Michael.

You have a statutory right to make a claim under the Consumer Rights Act for five or six years, depending on where you live in the UK. This takes priority over the manufacturer’s guarantee and is against the retailer rather than the manufacturer, but in the circumstances I do not know what the outcome might be. I admire your tenacity but sometimes it’s worth moving on. https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act-aKJYx8n5KiSl

A manufacturer’s guarantee only applies to the item originally purchased; replacements will only be covered by the original duration of that guarantee.

I’d suggest your claim should be for lack of durability, a specific requirement of the contract you made with the retailer as stated in the Consumer Rights Act.

From what I recall, fitness trackers do not have long lives but I can’t find the Which? report.

A manufacturer’s guarantee applies according to its own terms. Which differ by company and product. If the replacement was a repaired or refurbished item the terms may limit the cover to the balance of the original term, though some will add ” ….or x months whichever is the longer”. If the replacement was brand new item some will start the term afresh. Since the manufacturer is not obliged to give any guarantee at all it seems fair they should be able to define the terms of what they offer.

You are right, David. To quote from the Fitbit website: “Any replacement Product will be warranted for the remainder of the original Warranty Period or thirty (30) days, whichever is longer, or for any additional period of time that may be required by applicable law.”

I had looked this up when a former neighbour of mine had a problem with a Fitbit.

Hi, we had new timber, double glazed windows installed in January 2021. There are now faults with them which the company acknowledged and agreed in person to replace. However, now I cannot contact the company and believe they may have gone bust as their phone line, website and Facebook page are down and they are not responding to my emails. Who can I appeal to in order to get the windows repaired or replaced?

Nicki – That is a difficult question and there might not be a satisfactory answer. In the first place I think you will need to establish the company’s current status. You can check this on the Companies House website which should state whether the company is still active, or in administration, or going through liquidation. In the case of the latter two states you would then need to contact the administrators or liquidators to register your interest. What happens next will depend on what you can find out.

How did you pay for the new windows and did you pay the entire cost or withhold a retention in case of any rectification work? If you paid with a credit card you might be able to recover some money to pay for an independent remedy but you will need to discuss that with your card issuer before committing to any work. If the defects are minor and the windows still function and don’t leak then it would be best to postpone any repair work until you know the full position of the company.

Some buildings insurance policies include cover for similar occurrences so it might be worth while checking your policy and asking your insurer whether they can help.

If the window company was a member of a trade body you might be able to find out some more about their trading position and whether or not there is any protection scheme for customers.

Hi Nicki – Which? has advice on making a claim against your credit card provider it the company has gone bust: https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/how-can-i-get-my-money-back-if-a-company-goes-bust-aAmCs2Z30SLb

It’s worth confirming the status of the company as John has suggested.

Cavity wall insulation was installed by the Mark Group for the previous owners of my home. After they went bust in 2017 I discovered that I might still have protection since it was a member of a trade body. Fortunately I have not had any problems.

I hope you find a solution.