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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
Anthony Ham says:
20 August 2020

I have paid for parking for a year at an NCP, initially the car park was accessible 24/7 (since October 2019) but since July 2020, it’s closed between the hours of 19:00 and 06:00. This is an issue as I often have to work later and this means I am unable to get my car and drive home unless i remove it from the car park before 7pm and park it somewhere else. The way I see it, I paid for the 24/7 access and now have 13 hours access per day. Am I entitled to a refund for the time I no longer have the option to access the car park since the new opening times came in to play?

Anthony – It might depend on any terms and conditions in your annual contract that allow the operator to alter the opening hours at their discretion without liability.

I would submit a claim and see what the response is. If they won’t make a refund they might be willing to extend your contract for a further period at no extra charge.

Mrs M says:
20 August 2020

I ordered and paid for two stools online. Only one was delivered. Now the shop is saying I have to pay £25 on top of that to get the second stool delivered when it was their mistake they only set one! Surely this is illegal?

Mrs M – You had a contract for the purchase and delivery of two stools as one consignment for an inclusive price. Failure to honour that would seem to me to be a breach of contract so the company should now fulfil your order completely at its own expense.

I suggest you write and tell them that and see what the response is. If they refuse I would suggest you consult Citizens Advice. Taking legal action could be expensive but I think you would be likely to get satisfaction and costs although it might take some time.

Since you bought the stools on line you have the right to reject the goods and cancel the contract provided you do so within 14 days of receipt.

This is an extract from the Which? guidance on the Consumer Contracts Regulations which govern distance selling –

Your right to cancel an order for goods starts the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods.
“If your order consists of multiple goods, the 14 day period runs from when you get the last of the batch.
“This 14 day period is the time you have to decide whether to cancel, you then have a further 14 days to actually send the goods back
“.

See – https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-contracts-regulations

It occurs to me that in this case the seller has fallen between two stools.

Mrs M – I forgot to mention that if you reject the goods you might have to pay to return the stool that was delivered.

Claudia Domingues says:
20 August 2020

I ordered a stool that took 9 weeks to arrive, i did not received a stool but instead got a exercise band. Contacted the supplier which informed me that I would have to pay for the wrong item to be returned. Unless I pay for the item to be returned I will not get a refund. They will only refund me for the item I ordered not for the return (item that I did not order). What can I do? Paypal is not helping with this.

Claudia – Can you be sure that if you returned the unwanted exercise band you would get your refund? It is almost certain that you have been scammed and if the stools were bought overseas it is possible that you cannot take any effective action to recover your loss.

It is disappointing that PayPal will not assist you but I am not surprised. Unlike a credit card issuer [in respect of amounts over £100] they are not a joint party to the contract, merely a means of money transfer.

Diane Cox says:
20 August 2020

I purchased a pre loved Cartier love bangle. It is faulty. The screw on one side will not tighten The retailer says they will refund me and they will cover the cost of postage but it have to arrange it. As this is a high end item value 4k this is proving timely. I have found one courier which is expensive 260.00 with insurance. Can I insist the retailer sends me a courier label ? I feel uneasy spending more money to gain a refund.

Diane – Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you have the right to reject the faulty bangle and the retailer [if in the UK] is obliged to refund the cost of return, including insurance, in such circumstances.

You have thirty days from the date of taking ownership of the bangle in which to exercise your right to reject either for a full refund or for repair [replacement not being an option in your case because the pre-owned bangle is not a new or stock product]. If you are outside the 30-day right to reject, you have to give the retailer one opportunity to repair any goods which are of unsatisfactory quality [again, replacement not being an option here].

See the following Which? guide –
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

Brian Lowe says:
21 August 2020

I bought a portable cooler via a Facebook advert (won’t do that again) I paid using PAyPal with their buyer protection. The product arrived nearly 8 weeks later, the casing was slightly damaged with a broken hinge and the rechargeable battery does not charge. I contact the seller who is in China and they would only offer a small discount. I raised a case with PayPal and the seller offered a full refund if i returned the faulty goods at my expense. But they would would only accept a return via DHL or UPS and the time frame to return was that only air freight would work. The seller sent their address BUT omitted their postcode and telephone number. Neither DHL and UPS will accept a package without a postcode and UPS also require a phone number. This dispute with PayPal has been running for two weeks and the latest comment from them is they cannot force the seller to reveal personal information (postcode) This is an obvious scam as there is no way to return damaged/defective goods, I should the cost the return (£42.00) is more than the value of the product $46.90 although PayPal have said they will cover £15 of the cost of return. I have seen many other comments on PayPal’s forum about other buyers caught in this trap. Some have ordered a product and received something very unlike what they ordered and again will only get a refund if they return the product.

The “you must return the product first” dodge is just a way of preventing any form of remedy. They don’t actually want the product back and the expense would usually be prohibitive relative to the value of the item. The chances that the customer would also get their money back if the product was returned are probably slender.

Greg says:
21 August 2020

I’ve ordered a fan for £500+, just because it was marked as super powerful, while quiet. When it is powerful, can’t hear what others say in a meeting. When it is silent, I can’t feel anything from it. It has a night mode as well, but very hard to sleep next to it. The words “powerful”, and “silent” are extremely relative, but if I can’t hear anything because of it, we can agree that it’s not silent at any circumstances, so in my opinion, it doesn’t match the description. Ordered online, but their returns policy say (most known company for just electronics):

“Once you have told us you want to return an item, you should do so without undue delay and not later than 14 days from the day on which you informed us of your decision to cancel the order. You can examine the goods as you would in a shop but to obtain a full refund you must not start using them, install them or input any data/software. The goods must be returned in ‘as new’ condition and in their original packaging.”

This “you can try it, but don’t use it” thing drives me crazy. I’ve booked a date for collection, but they could say “all of those items are just this loud, so it only qualifies for unwanted, but because of you used it, we can’t give you a full refund”. I’d say all of those items are faulty then, but it is a complicated situation. My item would be at them, I want a full refund, but if I’d like my item back instead of a part refund, they would probably charge me for shipping back (and maybe for shipping in as well). What should I do?

Greg, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 gives the customer and retailer legal rights. For the customer, for example,
“Key rights about the goods, under the Act
3. The goods must be of satisfactory quality;
4. The goods must be fit for a particular purpose the consumer has made known
5. The goods should match any description, sample or model by reference to which they were supplied

In your case, if the goods did not match the description (if it is implied to be quiet when superpowerful) that could only be ascertained by energising the fan, then the retailer must give a full refund if within 30 days of receipt.

It certainly seems like a misleading description. Any fan that pushes large quantities of air around at high speed is going to cause a powerful disturbance which will be noisy, so to say “super-powerful while quiet” is a false description. £500 is a very high price to pay for a fan that does not perform as implied so I hope you do get the full refund to which I believe you are entitled.

For comfortable air movement without noise the fan does not need to be particularly powerful [i.e. high speed] but have large blades or vanes and a very durable motor that does not cause additional vibration.

Hi Greg – A fan might be powerful on one setting and quiet on another but having both at the same time is not really possible. If you think the advertising is misleading it would be worth complaining to the Advertising Standards Authority: https://www.asa.org.uk

I don’t have a fan but from what I have seen, large fans operating at fairly low speed seem to be effective and quiet, but are obviously cumbersome. The noise produced by fans may be given in the specifications. Look for dB or dBA but when making comparisons it is necessary to ensure that the distance in metres is specified, since the noise level falls rapidly as the distance from the product increases.

As John says, this was an expensive fan. It will depend upon how the fan was described as to whether it was misleading enough to warrant “not as described” and support a CRA claim.

It would be helpful if Greg told us which model of fan he refers to and whether the claim was made by the manufacturer or retailer. If the retailer is not keen to act on a CRA claim (noise being rather subjective) it might be worth approaching the manufacturer. They have no legal obligation but may act out of goodwill.

I assumed that the fan in question is a Dyson model, on the basis of the high price. Dyson currently offers a money back guarantee, allowing customers to return products they are not happy with within 35 days, providing the opportunity to test them.

I was also interested and tried Amazon first. Setting the search as ‘Pedestal Fans’ and ‘High to Low’ in the the price I found fans for £3.5k and a lot of almost identical models, each with a different name, for around £1.5k. Life became too short to find the £500 model.

I am guessing it is a Dyson fan from Currys.

Currys are not going to be easy to deal with, but you might try Dyson.

I recently bought a Dyson Pure Cool directly from Dyson that appeared to be refurbished when it should have been new as it had so many marks on it. Dyson were extremely helpful so they might be worth a phone call. Customer service people are working from home and the phone queue is generally 30 minutes.

The fan settings go from 1-10. Setting 5 I hardly know it is on, 7 is audible but not unbearable, but it is noisier above 7.

scott says:
23 August 2020

I bought a Little Tikes Splashface toy from TKMaxx at the end of last month which looked great fun for my twin nieces. As we live in Scotland, and the rest of my family live in England, we had to wait up until last week to be able to see them due to work commitments and the lockdown. So, finally, we got down to see the family and started building the toy for the girls. It was only when we had assembled it that we realised that the attachment (the toy is basically a tug of war game where the loser gets soaked with water) on the toy that you would attach to a hose, didn’t connect to the hose. Not a problem as my parents are avid gardeners and have a variety of hose attachments, however, out of their boxful of attachments, none of them could be attached to the toy as a conduit to the hose. The following day we went to a local hardware store who were equally stumped by the toy (hose) attachment and who, likewise, didn’t have anything that would act as a conduit. Having googled the problem, it seems that the toy attachment is for a US connection and not a British one! We have emailed Little Tikes who explained that they don’t sell an attachment but forwarded us on to one of their (partner?) companies who DO sell an attachment for £3 and then another £4 for postal charges. As the toy was bought nearly 30 days ago, and we have the receipt up here in Scotland and left the toy down with my parents in England, taking the product back isn’t an option, besides, there isn’t a TKMaxx close to where my parents live.
We have sent a couple of emails to Little Tikes saying that we’re not happy with the product and they have just said that our comments will be passed to the design department but that’s it, no mention of them saying that this has been noticed/commented on before or that they will do something to rectify the problem (pay for the attachment and send it to us?)
Should we just pay the extra money to buy the attachment or, as I feel, should Little Tikes not pay for it as they have sold a product that is unfit for the British market or at least doesn’t attach to a standard hose (Google – ‘Little Tikes Splashface hose connector’ and you will see we’re not the only ones to have had this issue).

Chris says:
24 August 2020

Under a side line, what of repeat offenders? We received a replacement dryer from Whirlpool in November ’19, under their safety recall. Since then, its had two replacement pumps, the most recent one of which was fitted 6 weeks ago… Which has also broken.

So a third engineer visit is booked in, with another two week gap from booking to repair. Considering it was a brand new machine that we received, am I wrong in getting a tad riled about the part breaking this regularly on a new machine?

Hi Chris – If you had bought the dryer you could have claimed a full refund if the second fault was within six months of purchase:

“If you’ve owned the item for less than six months, the retailer must give you a full refund if an attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful.” https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/advice/what-do-i-do-if-i-have-a-faulty-product

It would be helpful if someone from the Which? Legal term could tell us what rights an owner has under the Consumer Rights Act if goods are replaced – either because of a recall or because they are faulty.

As far as I know, if a faulty product is replaced by a new product, that product has the original warranty attached to it – so a 7 month old product with a 12 month guarantee would have only the 5 months remaining transferred to the replacement. However, under CRA, with an admitted faulty product if a replacement fails then you can choose another repair or replacement or a refund; the refund would be only partial depending upon the amount of use the product has had. In the case of the Whirlpool dryer those models affected have been admitted to being faulty, effectively with a fault from new, so the failure to meet a contract term under CRA has been admitted by the manufacturer. Therefore the CRA remedies should automatically apply.

That is my understanding. Wavechange, I am giving a view because in so many occasions Which? have not responded to questions. Hopefully they will this time and correct my view if necessary.

I would assume that a manufacturer’s guarantee would continue to cover a replacement product for the period remaining and sometimes this is stated in the terms and conditions.

I’m not so sure about statutory protection under the CRA or the earlier Sale of Goods Act (up to. Oct. 2015), which is why I am keen that we have advice from Which? In having a dryer replaced by Whirlpool, owners such as Chris have not made made a claim under either of these Acts but taken up an offer of free replacement by Whirlpool, the manufacturer. Under these Acts the purchaser has rights against the retailer rather than the manufacturer. Both of us have advised people about this many times, Malcolm. Does the manufacturer or their agent take on the responsibility of a retailer for a replacement machine?

The fire risk dryer problem goes back to models sold from 2004, if I recall correctly, which means that the original machine could be beyond the period covered by the Acts or the original guarantee period. Does the owner of an older machine that is replaced with a new one by the manufacturer have any protection if something goes wrong?

I appreciate that there are many questions but it would help if Which? could give us some general advice.

As you say, the customers’ legal rights are against the retailer, not the manufacturer. The Consumer Rights Act and SOGA require the above redress. They also require that if redress is not given in a reasonable time (repair or replacement) then the customer is legally entitled to a refund ( albeit partial in most cases).

I have asked Which? a number of times why those customers whose appliances fall within CRA time limits (6 or 5 years) cannot exercise that right even though Whirlpool has announced a recall. Surely that should not remove their legal rights.

As you rightly point out, many of the affected appliances will be outside CRA time limits. Therefore the legal rights seem to have terminated, even for a safety failure. You could argue that Whirlpool are then using their “goodwill” to put right their design mistake, or what they have inherited from Indesit in the case of tumble dryers. Owners of older machines, if given a repair or replacement or a partial refund, will benefit where legally they would not have.

There seem perhaps to be two classes of claimant. Those with legal (CRA) rights for younger machines who should be able to exercise those rights, including requiring a refund if repair or replace is unreasonably delayed, if that is beneficial. And those with older machines relying on “goodwill”. But how long should they wait for goodwill? Someone should have set a mandatory time limit from the point at which a customer registered a recalled appliance to when a repair or replacement were provided; if that point was passed then a refund should be automatic and immediate.

Recalls are customarily dealt with by the manufacturer, who may appoint an agent to handle publicity and arrange replacement of products. In my experience (personal and other cases I know about) this has been done efficiently and in a timely fashion. I don’t see any point in complicating a system that is well established and seems to work with most companies.

It hasn’t worked in an efficient and timely manner for hundreds of thousands of Whirlpool customers. Far from it. So I’d suggest that whatever the system is, if indeed there is one, needs changing.

My comment was simply looking at the legal position, as it stands, of customers affected with different ages of machine. Some may be, or would have been, better off making a claim under SOGA or CRA. I had hoped Which? would explain whether those legal rights were removed from customers when Whirlpool stepped in with a recall.

Not only should the “system” be reviewed; we also need to address the means by which a “total recall” can be achieved. No system is around currently that achieves that. Time it was sorted.

Why change a system that works because one company, albeit a big one, fails to behave responsibly? We know of the problems that people have with getting retailers to take action over faulty goods.

I am not clear what “system” you mean. I am not suggesting we change the CRA. I am saying we need a system for achieving full recalls.

We also need an effective means of applying whatever systems are available so that affected customers are dealt with properly and promptly. Whirlpool serves to expose this deficiency.

I am saying that there is no point in involving the retailer when the present system of manufacturers handling recalls generally works fine, except in the case of the Whirlpool appliances.

We have discussed the need for a better recall system in various Conversations, Malcolm, and I have made suggestions about how this could be achieved. We are agreed that this needs to be done.

There is every point in involving the retailer, with whom the customer has a contract, if the manufacturer fails to give redress and if that route would be more advantageous. That is the whole point of having the Consumer a Rights Act.

Many Whirlpool customers have been left in limbo with unsafe appliances. That is quite wrong; they should have either been dealt with correctly or properly compensated. Are they just to be left to sit it out?

I do not know what the current situation is with customers who have the recalled potentially unsafe Indesit dryers and the washing machines that are Whirlpool’s responsibility. It seems to have gone quiet; Which? have not mentioned it lately. However, the redress has unquestionably been dealt with in a way that was unacceptable to very many owners. We should have a system that prevents manufacturers treating consumers like that. It may be atypical of recalls, but it has exposed a weakness that needs addressing.

I bought a cordless B&D hedge trimmer some years ago. Last week I put the battery on charge, heard three mighty bangs, and battery and charger simply « melted into each other. I contacted B&D to make them aware this could be a health and safety issue but they are not interested. More than two years old, not their problem. Does that sound right?

Hi Nicolette – When you posted about this earlier you said that B&D were prepared to collect the damaged product, which would let them investigate what happened.

I did check both the B&D website and the EU Safety Gate website but found no information about recalls on either site.

> > Thank you for the pictures.
> >
> > It appears that the battery has vented to fail safely. This is the
> > behaviour it is designed to do to prevent thermal hazard.
This is one of their answers. Collecting it for inspection would not change the fact that in my opinion this is potentially a dangerous product and should be recalled only to warn other customers.

Allowing the company to inspect the product would allow them to establish the cause of the problem, which could be a fault with the charger or a fault with the battery. Both could cause overheating of the battery resulting in internal pressure and the purpose of the vent is to release the pressure to avoid an explosion. It is disappointing that B&D have not commented on the melting you mentioned earlier.

A manufacturer would not issue a recall unless they were aware of a number of reports of the same problem. It’s a pity that they don’t invite us to report suspected safety issues. It would be interesting to know what Trading Standards advises. They can be contacted via Citizens Advice.

You will be unlikely to know what Trading Standards think if you contact Citizens Advice if what they told me is anything to go by. It is an unnecessary disconnect between consumers and those who are officially responsible for looking after the protection of consumers from unsafe products.

On a separate topic I would like to see a standardisation of these types of rechargeable batteries. The fixing to the product might well proprietary but I seen no reason why the cells should not be easily replaceable and rechargeable in a standard charger. My family have has a number of power tools where the battery has failed and a replacement is not available – obsolete – rendering the whole power tool useless.

In Nicolette’s case I suspect that if they were sent the damaged charger and battery they would either provide replacements (if still available) or offer a discount on a new product, out of goodwill.

There is potential to standardise on batteries in power tools as we have discussed elsewhere. Most lithium rechargeable batteries used in these tools and vacuum cleaners use 18650 cells.

Hi Nicolette,

You might be lucky if you take the battery and charger to an authorised agent.

We had a problem with the 18V batteries (original and a spare) not charging on a B&D pole pruner.

B&D have authorised agents around the country and I took mine there. They examined the batteries and tried charging them. My batteries still looked new and they agreed they were faulty and gave me 2 new ones.

We used to have an excellent B&D service centre nearby but it closed years ago. There are a few agents remaining: http://service.blackanddecker.co.uk/BD/GB/en-GB/AgentLocator/SearchAgentLocators

kevin paul carter says:
25 August 2020

we have ordered some flooring from a shop on Saturday and come Monday we decided it wasn’t what we wanted so we phoned the company to say we have changed our minds and was told we have to have it .

Kevin – If you ordered the product in a shop then the seller has the right to hold you to your order.

If you ordered the flooring on-line or by phone then you have the right to cancel the order, even up to fourteen days after taking delivery.

Nazir says:
27 August 2020

I purchased a fridge freezer one month ago from Argos. Checking the dimensions of the appliance, I contacted Argos and asked them to ensure that the drivers had the tools necessary to remove the fridge freezer doors before entering the property to ensure they would fit through the doors. This was confirmed and notes made on the file.

The delivery was due today however the delivery driver said that that the depth was 76cm (the product on the website shows 70cm and once the doors removed it would be 60cm, which would be fine to get through our doors) and that they would not remove doors from a 4 door fridge freezer and would only do that in the case of a 2 door. We therefore could not accept the delivery.

We move into our new home tomorrow and do not own another fridge freezer to use in the meantime. After waiting 1 month for delivery and having a van booked tomorrow to move our items, we are stuck. We have tried speaking to Argos but after managing to get through to someone, the line cuts off. DHL (the courier) has confirmed that the doors should have been removed on delivery and does not know why the drivers did not do this.

Peter Rafferty says:
28 August 2020

iam with virgin media..i have tv ,broadband and phone with them..i want the landline removed..i just want tv and broadband only..they told me if I remove the land line the other two will go up in price

Eddie says:
28 August 2020

Ho… i bought a tv in june from Ao.com and the picture has went… i bought it for 399 and now they have stopped making this version and they want to charge me to upgrade the tv or give me a refund… the tv was on sale and the new price is 549… i dont want a refund… shouldnt they replace the faulty tv? Its 3 months old

Hi Eddie, if AO cannot obtain a replacement TV then the only available options are either repair or refund.

If you obtain a refund, you might be able to find an exact like for like replacement elsewhere.

It is likely that Eddie’s TV was discounted to make way for a new model and this is the reason for the large price increase. It might be possible to negotiate a worthwhile discount with AO and it that is not enough the alternative is to take the refund, as Derek has suggested.

Perhaps better to take a refund and buy a different make, given the early failure?

Indeed. I would not normally want a like for like replacement when a product fails to be adequately durable.

Shillu says:
28 August 2020

Hi, I bought a treadmill in June, after owning it for less than a month I realised there was a fault with it. I reported it to the retailer and initially allowed them the opportunity to repair the machine after an ongoing saga they refused and said the problem did not exist. I finally tried a chargeback with PayPal and after this they have offered to repair it even though they claimed there was nothing wrong.

Am I still within my rights to claim a refund having told them about the fault within 30days which I have proof of?

I also have another issue they have told me the 10year warranty on electrical components will not be honoured as it is in my garage which they discovered from a photo I sent them upon their request. It states on the item description it is for home use. It never stated that it had to be used in a temperature controlled environment, which they now claim is a condition of the warranty. Are they allowed to impose conditions even though they were never stated prior to purchase?

Thanks.

Shillu – Since you reported the fault within thirty days you have the right to a full refund. This is provided for under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

I don’t think the temperature issue is relevant here since over the last three months the temperature in a garage will not have differed much from that in a house [unless you had the heat turned up very high indoors]. In any case, the warranty is of no consequence in your case because you are not seeking a repair under the warranty but a remedy under the Consumer Rights Act.

See the following Which? guidance on your consumer rights in respect of faulty goods –
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

Ursula says:
28 August 2020

Hi, I bought a stand mixer from Lidl few days ago but it is very noisy when mixing ingredients, also I noticed strange noises in the swivel arm and swivel arm is shaking when working, so I am not happy with it.Could I take it back to the shop and receive my money back?

Ursula – Yes. The mixer is clearly not of satisfactory quality nor fit for purpose so you have the right to a full refund. You have thirty days in which to exercise your right.

See the following Which? guidance on your consumer rights in respect of faulty goods –
https://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

yvonne says:
30 August 2020

hi , my sister bought a coffee table before Lockdown and the shop called to say it was ready for delivery but my sister was ill and said ahe wasnt ready for it ,unfortunately my sister passed away and on clearing her house i came across the receipt ,i went to shop and they dont want to give me the money back but are willing to give me the table and ive said thats no good as i need money to pay funeral bill .can they do this ?

Yvonne – yes, legally they can but it is rather hard-hearted of them I feel.

Helen Goodfield says:
31 August 2020

Hi I ordered a fold up wagon on Facebook from an advert I got no email to say anything about the perchase nothing I opened up a complaint with PayPal I had an email from a person in China saying this was the tracking code when it came it was a ring a cheap tacky ring not a fold up wagon I went back to the email and they replied saying they would wante to sell it on send back the ring and they would only when they got it would give me a full refund they did offer me 25 percent refund at first.

I don’t mind sending it back but the costs prob be more expensive than the wagon

Penny says:
1 September 2020

I agreed to double glazing for 5 windows on 21.7.20 they have cancelled twice saying the windows weren’t ready for various reasons it has now been 42days is this an unreasonable amount of time and is it right that 30 days is the acceptable time

Hi Penny – I expect you have paid a deposit for the work. I suggest you ask for a refund of your money so that you can go elsewhere. In the circumstances it would be a reasonable request. It is a very difficult time for companies and there may have been a case of coronavirus among their staff or families, or some may have refused to resume work.

It could depend on the stage of production that the replacement windows have reached. They are bespoke items made to precise measurements unlikely to be replicated in the foreseeable future.

I would expect replacement windows normally to take up to six weeks for manufacture and installation – it depends on the size of the order book – but these are not normal times so some latitude is appropriate. I would suggest you give company a deadline of, say, 30 September 2020 for completion of the installation after which you are free to cancel the contract. Bear in mind, though, that it could cost more to start all over again.

If Penny asks to cancel she will be told if they had already been assembled. It does not take long to make UPVC windows. I have known cases where a mistaken measurement has been discovered during installation and a replacement has been installed in a day or two. With luck, the company might manage to fit in the job sooner than they have suggested and asking to cancel the contract might provide some incentive for this to happen.

If the contract is cancelled and another company employed, it might cost less rather than more, now that more companies are back in business and there is more competition. I ordered a freezer about the time of lockdown and when the retailer messed me around over delivery I cancelled and reordered from another company, which saved £92 and delivery was very prompt.

Paul Davies says:
1 September 2020

Received a telescope from China and its nothing like as advertised. Who is responsible for shipping it back? They say I must?

Pretty meaningless legal protection, really. I bought a Samsung tablet in Dec 19, and a couple of weeks ago the charger failed, i.e. after less than 8 months of use. I don’t think that any reasonable person would consider that that short a life for a Samsung branded product represented acceptable durability, but of course there is absolutely no way I can prove that it was faulty when I bought it, is there.

Hi Mike – According to this page, Samsung tablets come with a two year manufacturers warranty, which is in addition to your statutory rights: https://www.samsung.com/uk/support/warranty/

As long as you have not damaged the charger, cable or plug then I expect that you will be given a replacement charger. Please don’t be tempted to buy a cheap charger from an online marketplace because Which? has found that these can be dangerous and could cause a fire or electric shock.

If you have already been refused help then please let us know why.

The other option, apart from your guarantee that should cover this, is lack of “durability”; reasonable durability is a requirement of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 but is seemingly not much used and not promoted by Which?

While it may not be easy always to agree when (lack of) durability is unacceptable we have seen many instances reported in Convos where something has failed just out of warranty – usually clearly an unreasonably short time – or a sensibly priced product has clearly not lasted as long as it should have. Consumers should be helped to get proper redress when this happens.