Know Your Shopping Rights at Christmas

Citizens Advice Wirral is reminding residents to remember their rights and to go back to retailers if they are sold faulty electrical goods this Christmas.

The call comes as part of National Consumer Week (Monday 28th November – Sunday 4 December) which focuses on what people should do if something goes wrong with electrical goods such as laptops, TVs and mobile phones.

Research from the national charity released today reveals that two thirds (66%) of people had a problem with a faulty electrical item in the last two years.

However, 1 in 4 (28%) people were initially turned away by retailers when they tried to get a repair, replacement or refund, despite the retailer having a responsibility to offer a solution.

The survey also showed that persistence paid off, with 61% of those who were turned away eventually getting some form of solution from the retailer.

Last year, Citizens Advice Wirral helped 877 people with queries around consumer rights.

The survey findings suggest that both shoppers and retailers may not be aware of their rights and responsibilities around faulty electrical goods.

As Christmas shopping gets underway, the charity is sharing top tips to help shoppers to get “switched on” to their consumer rights, so they can get problems with electrical goods solved.

Carol Johnson-Eyre, Chief Executive Officer, of Citizens Advice Wirral said:

This Christmas people don’t need to be stuck with electrical goods that don’t work.

Knowing your rights means that if something goes wrong, you can approach the retailer for a repair, refund or replacement confident in the knowledge that they should help you find a solution.

We would encourage shoppers to have a quick read of our top tips so they know where they stand, or contact us if they need further advice.

Electrical goods – what you need to know

Don’t put up with broken electrical goods – if an item breaks and it’s not your fault, you have a right to a free repair, replacement or refund depending when and where you bought it.

Use the Citizens Advice Faulty Goods Tool to work out what you’re entitled to.

What to do when an item is faulty

  • Don’t attempt to fix it yourself – this could stop you getting redress because it will make it harder to prove you did not cause the fault. You may also risk injuring yourself.
  • Return it to the retailer – It’s the responsibility of the retailer to help you resolve the problem, not the manufacturer. Your contract is with the retailer. They should cover the costs of returning the item – contact them first to check the best way to do this and to negotiate an option that’s most convenient for you.

Getting a repair, replacement or refund

  • Bought within the last 30 days – you can get a refund on a faulty product.
  • Bought within the last 6 months – you are entitled to have it repaired or replaced once. If the item still doesn’t work you should get a full refund.
  • Bought more than 6 months ago – you may still get a repair or replacement but you will only get a partial refund to reflect the use you’ve got out of the item. You’ll need to prove you didn’t cause the fault which may make it harder to get redress.
  • Repair doesn’t work? If you have one repair and it doesn’t succeed, you can ask for a full or partial refunding, depending on when the purchase was made.
  • Replaced with something different? The retailer should try to replace the item like-for-like. This may not always be possible, so if you’re offered something you don’t want you can ask for a refund.

What to do when an item is unsafe

  • Stop using it – and unplug it if applicable.
  • Inform Trading Standards – report it via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06, or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh speakers.
  • If it gets recalled, follow the manufacturer’s guidance – this could include not leaving the item unattended when in use. For peace of mind you may want to stop using it altogether.
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