Citizens Advice: What buyers should know when returning faulty goods

When it comes to returning purchases, you have a range of legal rights

When it comes to returning purchases, you have a range of legal rights - Credit: Citizen Advice North Herts

Citizens Advice North Herts is offering guidance to help buyers know their rights when returning faulty goods.

When it comes to returning purchases, you have a range of legal rights. However, if the item is bought in a store and is not faulty you will need to check the stores own returns policy.

Many shops will offer the buyer a refund, exchange or credit note as a voluntary goodwill gesture. Some also allow the recipient of a gift to return it if they have a gift receipt or proof of purchase. Again, this is a voluntary gesture and will probably result in an exchange or credit note.  

If bought online, by phone or mail order, most items can be returned and refunded if done quickly, no matter what the reason but you would be wise to check before purchasing.  

If something’s gone wrong with an item you’ve bought, you may be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement if it is: 

Broken or damaged ('not of satisfactory quality') 

Unusable (‘not fit for purpose’) 

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Not what was advertised or doesn’t match the seller’s description, but not if it was damaged by wear and tear, an accident or misuse or you have just changed your mind. 

Warranties and guarantees add to your legal rights and can be useful if: 

Something’s gone wrong after the first 6 months and you want a repair or replacement - you may have to prove you didn’t cause the problem 

You bought an item abroad and the manufacturer is based in the UK 

A trader’s gone out of business  

Check your paperwork to find out how you make a claim. The warranty or guarantee could be on your receipt, in an email or given to you as a separate leaflet and if you can’t find it contact the seller for a copy or the manufacturer’s contact details.  

When you make a claim, you’ll usually need: 

Proof of purchase - usually a receipt showing where and when you bought the goods 

Details of what the problem is 

A copy of the warranty or guarantee 

If you haven’t filled in a registration card and returned it to the manufacturer, your guarantee may not be valid - try looking for a contact number on the guarantee, and get in touch.

You might also be able to register online. If you can’t find contact details, call the seller and ask for advice.  

Check our website for further information. 

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