27 Nov 2020
There are certainly some great deals to be had and it can be very tempting to be seduced by the cheaper prices but beware of prioritising low prices over quality, particularly when buying online.
With many consumers unaware of the protection and statutory rights they are legally entitled to, our personal injury and dispute resolution teams have come together to give their top tips for ensuring peace of mind when buying gifts this Christmas.
When buying toys for children, always look for the CE symbol on the label or box. This means the manufacturer has assessed the toy for safety. It’s also worth only buying from suppliers who have a good reputation for safe and reliable toys and fair refund policies.
Avoid toys with small parts or loose fabric as these can be a choking hazard. Also, toys often have button batteries which can prove lethal if swallowed. Always check they are screwed in safely before giving to a child. Finally, always follow the age recommendations which must be clearly marked on the toy’s packaging.
Our trips to high street stores and supermarkets have certainly been highly restricted in recent months so more and more of us have turned to online retailers to purchase our essentials. This will surely still be the case as we start our Christmas gift shopping, so it’s important that we all know our consumer rights.
If you’ve purchased an item online, you are legally entitled to cancel the purchase up to 14 days after receiving it and you have a further 14 days to return most goods for a full refund. However, you are typically expected to pay the delivery costs of returning the goods.
There have understandably been significant delays with some deliveries because of the pandemic but if any goods that you’ve ordered are not delivered within 30 days, you are entitled to ask for your money back.
Often, goods that we order online come from outside the UK, which can cause additional problems if you are sent the wrong items or they are faulty. If the company you bought from refuses to reimburse you, your credit card company may be liable to refund you through a Section 75 claim, if the goods purchased were over £100 and below £30,000. Where you cannot rely on Section 75 protection, you may be able to use a chargeback scheme through your credit card or debit card provider.
If a gift you’ve bought is faulty, you could be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement if you return it within 30 days. After this time, you have to give the retailer the opportunity to repair or replace it before you can claim a refund.
The Consumer Rights Act means that any products you buy must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. These rules include digital content such as downloaded films, games or apps. If what you’ve bought doesn’t satisfy any one of these three criteria, the retailer that sold it to you – not the manufacturer – is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act.
You can still make a claim against the manufacturer if you have a guarantee or warranty or if the product has caused additional damage or injury but you should deal with the retailer in the first instance. Being able to show a receipt for the faulty goods you purchased may speed up your claim but it is not essential to have one. Proof of purchase, such as a bank statement, can be enough.
If you paid for the faulty goods with a credit card and they cost between £100 and £30,000, the credit card company may be jointly liable with the seller if the goods are not of satisfactory quality.
It’s the stuff of nightmares but what would happen if a faulty or defective gift that you bought for a friend or family member were to injure them in some way? The Consumer Protection Act relates to the physical protection of the consumer and his/her property from the effects of faulty or defective products.
When you buy goods, they have to be safe and if you are injured by them in any way as a result of their hazardous nature, the manufacturer – and the importer if it has come from outside the UK – are strictly liable for any damage or loss caused to you or those who used the product. ‘Strict liability’ means that you do not have to prove that they were at fault. You do, however, have to prove that the product was defective and that it was this defect which caused the injury.
If you have any questions about your rights as a consumer, our dispute resolution team has years of experience in helping individuals who’ve purchased goods and the terms of the contract have been broken. And if you, a friend or family member have been injured by an item you’ve purchased, our personal injury team can tell you if you’re entitled to make a claim. Get in touch on 029 20 244233 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harding Evans is a trading name of Harding Evans LLP, a limited liability partnership, registered in England & Wales (registered number: OC311802), authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA number: 419663).