One in three shoppers feel their consumer rights have been ignored when trying to return goods or get a refund.
In a survey* for the ‘Know Your Consumer Rights’ campaign nearly 40 per cent of men and just over 30 per cent of women said that they felt retailers had attempted to dismiss their claims when they’ve tried to return goods or get a refund.
Dr Paulette Edwards found that it pays to know your rights after being refused a refund when a bed she purchased turned out to be not what she asked for.
“In February 2008 I decided to invest in an adjustable bed. Because of the specialist nature of the bed, it came with a price tag to match – nearly £4000.
Before spending all that money I wanted to make sure it would be safe for my curious cats to meander underneath the bed without being hurt. I was pleased when the retailer reassured me that this wouldn’t be a problem at all.
However, when it arrived I discovered the bed wasn’t safe for my cats at all. Wires were hanging down underneath, staples where sticking out here, there and everywhere and the mattress slipped forward onto the ground – it was a real death trap for my poor little babies!
Initially the retailer wasn’t very helpful. But then a friend told me to get in touch with Consumer Direct to check my rights. They told me that under The Sale of Goods Act that a product should be fit for the specific purpose that was agreed when it was purchased. I then wrote a letter of complaint to the retailer as advised.
On receiving the letter they reacted very quickly and provided a full refund. In fact they couldn’t give me the money back quick enough!
I think it was a fair result – I was very specific about what I needed from the bed. Once I had the law on my side, it was amazing how quickly they changed their tune!
The experience has made me a more cautious shopper, especially where high value goods are concerned.”
It pays to know your rights. The ‘Know Your Consumer Rights’ campaign aims to educate shoppers about their three key rights – “goods must fit the description given, be of satisfactory quality and suitable for purpose”. For further information and clear, practical advice contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506 or visit the website www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.
Anyone visiting the Consumer Direct web site can test their Consumer rights knowledge by taking part in an online quiz. Test your knowledge for the chance to win £150 worth of shopping vouchers.
*The survey was conducted by BMRB and questioned 2,009 people in England, Scotland and Wales. Further information is available at www.bis.gov.uk