If you’re wondering what to do about a problem with a car, an electrical appliance, a package holiday or another product or service, we’re here to help.
Know your rights
In 2015 the Consumer Rights Act came into force providing greater protection if goods or services are faulty. Within 30 days of purchase you can reject most products if they are not “as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for the consumer’s particular purpose”. This excludes perishable goods, digital content and purchases from non-business sellers.
For most products, if a fault occurs in the first 6 months the presumption is that it has been there since purchase. Unless the retailer can prove it wasn’t, they need to replace or repair the item – and if a repair isn’t satisfactory you can insist on a refund (or a discount if you’d prefer to keep it, or if it’s a motor vehicle).
After 6 months it is up to you to prove the product was faulty when you bought it – but if necessary you have up to 6 years to make a claim in court. Manufacturer warranties and guarantees add to your rights under the Act. Each one is different, but they tend to be useful if something’s gone wrong after the first 6 months and you want a repair or replacement – it’s tricky to do this as you may have to prove you didn’t cause the problem
Services must be performed with “reasonable care and skill” and “within a reasonable time”. Any statement a trader makes while a consumer is deciding to enter into the contract (or making a later decision about the service) is now legally binding.
Can you make a claim?
You can find out if you’re entitled to make a claim by using our national website – go to citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer where you can find tools to help if you have faulty goods or have a problem with a service or a motor vehicle. In this section you can get information about how to complain and also find lots of “template” letters which will help you complain in writing about products and services.
Get more help
If you don’t get anywhere with your initial approach, the “Get more help” link in the same section provides information about Trading Standards, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and other things you can do.
You can make a claim in court, but this can be stressful and time consuming – it’s probably only worth doing this if the item was expensive – and the judge will probably ask if you have tried ADR. Many sellers are now part of ADR schemes which offer a range of mediation, arbitration and ombudsman arrangements.
Help on the phone
Around half a million people phone the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline each year and around 98% say they are satisfied with the help they receive. You can contact the helpline free between 9am and 5pm on weekdays on 0808 223 1133.
Please be aware that our Camberley office is now closed for face-to-face appointments until further notice, due to the potential implications of the Coronavirus.
You can still get advice online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or choose from the following options:
You can email us for advice locally at email@example.com
You can phone 03444 111 444 for general advice – Please select the option to leave a message, provide your contact details and a brief outline of your problem and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
For local advice and support you can also telephone 01276 417900, (Monday to Thursday, 10am to 2pm). PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE A VOICEMAIL AFTER 2PM ON THIS LOCAL NUMBER AS WE ARE NOT ABLE TO ACCESS THESE.
To get help in making an online application to Universal Credit please phone 0800 144 8444
Thank you for your understanding.