This month's Style Corner focuses on the slightly-boring-but-extremely-important topic of consumer rights. Alas, many people are unfamiliar with their consumer rights, which can lead to confusion and upset when a shopping transaction goes pear-shaped. Hopefully my ‘handy guide’ below will improve your knowledge.
Please note that the information below pertains to the Republic of Ireland only.
The Sale of Goods Act 1980
- When you buy goods from a Retailer, you make a contract with Them.
- Anything that you buy from a Retailer must be: (a) of merchantable quality, (b) fit for purpose, and (c) as described per the packaging / advertising / salesperson. The Act applies to items “on sale” also – unless they are being sold as ‘shop soiled’ or ‘seconds’.
- If the goods turn out to be faulty, you are entitled to a full refund / replacement / repair by the retailer (not the manufacturer). You do not have to accept a credit note.
- If you simply change your mind about an item following purchase (e.g. “nah I don’t like it after all”) you have no rights under the Sale of Goods Act. The Retailer, as a gesture of goodwill, may consider offering you an exchange or credit note (but they are not legally obliged to).
- Likewise, you have no rights under the Sale of Goods Act if you misuse a product after purchase, or if you were advised of a fault at the time of purchase.
Caroline’s Top Tips
- Always keep your receipt.
- Read the terms & conditions on the receipt (e.g. the exchange period).
- If you have a complaint, air it with the manager as soon as possible. Most Retailers will do their utmost to resolve the situation quickly and amicably.
- The Consumer Rights Association, http://www.consumerassociation.ie/ has some excellent tips on its website for Consumers.
Yours in style,