If something you’ve bought turns our to be faulty, you should be able to return it to the retailer. That’s thanks to the Sale of Goods Act – but it seems some shops aren’t always allowing you to exercise those rights.
Under the Sale of Goods Act, goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If they’re not and it’s within a reasonable time – usually three or four weeks – you can reject the item and get a full refund. If you’re out of time, you can ask for a repair or replacement.
Plus, within the first six months of purchase the onus is on the retailer to prove that the fault was not present at the time of purchase – after this time the onus switches to you, the consumer.
Does the Sale of Goods Act work for you?
But while these rights seem simple enough, putting them into practice can be tough. We’ve heard from you about retailers refusing to honour Sale of Goods Act rights – confusing their own store policies on returning goods with their statutory obligations. Wavechange told us:
‘I don’t often shop in Curry’s but I can give several examples of unsatisfactory treatment regarding recently purchased products. My personal favourite was when I was told that the Sale of Goods Act did not apply to them. On another occasion Curry’s would not accept the return of a Miele vacuum and insisted that I contacted the manufacturer. I did and received excellent treatment, knowing well that it was the responsibility of Curry’s to sort out the problem.
‘My only success with Curry’s has been to get a different manager to swap a mobile, after their repeated failure to fix a problem on a phone that I had first returned within a few weeks of purchase and had been kept for emergency use in the glove box of my car.’
When we went to Currys & PC World for comment, a spokesperson told us:
‘As a retailer we fully acknowledge our responsibilities under the Sale of Goods Act and all of our store colleagues receive training on this. We will always try to resolve issues directly first but on the occasions where we do refer customers to suppliers, it is because they are best placed to achieve the quickest resolution – as detailed in our receipt wallet.’
Another commenter, Pat, told us about the camera troubles she had at a camera shop:
‘I had to return a small camera that refused to focus when in video mode. The assistant manager refused even when I pointed out the provisions under the Act. She said it had to be saleable and in the original packaging. I pointed out that was their rules not according to the Sale of Goods Act. She only refunded the money when I requested her refusal in writing so I could take them to court. THEN I had my money in record time.’
I’ve personally been lucky on the few occasions that I’ve needed to return goods, but that’s clearly not the case for many of you.
Have you ever had a problem trying to return an item under the Sale of Goods Act? Or have you found it to be a useful piece of legislation to refer to when you return goods? We’re trying to build up a picture of what’s really happening on the ground, so your comments will be valuable evidence for our research.