Overview of Consumer Rights When Buying
United Kingdom consumers have rights that they have been given by the U.K. government. Many consumers do not know the rights that they have been given and are unable to fight for them. There are three basic rights that all consumers within the United Kingdom need to be aware of: right of satisfactory quality, be fit for a purpose, match the item description.
The right of satisfactory quality tells consumers that an item that they purchase should be of high quality. It should not break apart and stop working when the consumer needs it most. Also, the item should be free of any defect, including any minor defects. This includes anything from mechanical defects to cosmetic blemishes. Any item that has a problem should have the problem fixed by the manufacturer. The item that the consumer purchases should also be safe to use after the consumer purchases it.
The item that a consumer purchases should be fit for a purpose. If a consumer purchases a fridge, then it should be able to cool items inside it to the stated temperature, provided the items inside do not alter the temperature by themselves. Also, the consumer must be able to use the item for any purpose they told the seller they would like to use it for. For example, it would be illegal for a merchant to sell a consumer a fridge-freezer knowing that it cannot freeze items (or even freeze them to the temperature stated). It would violate the right that the item be fit for a purpose.
The item must match its description. Sellers cannot use the infamous ‘bait and switch’ tactic that they have used in previous generations. Many sellers offer free samples of their product. For example, food companies are notorious for offering free samples of their product and then having the actual product close by to make a sale. The product that you sample has to be the same product that they sell. Otherwise, it would violate the consumer right that the item must match its description. The same applies for all items, including fridges.
Merchants that do not follow the consumer rights can be guilty of several crimes. These crimes can range from a minor infraction to the merchant being criminally prosecuted for fraud. Individuals need to be aware that they do have power in the marketplace. They are also protected by a number of rights that they have to ensure that they can continue to be safe into the future.
Consumers who encounter a problem with their item should contact the merchant first. They may be able to work out their problem with the merchant and not have to resort to contacting Consumer Direct. Consumer Direct can assist you in negotiating with the trader. Consumers may also have the right to dispute a charge with their credit card company if they fall under certain conditions. Also, some consumers may be able to take the merchant to court. However, this process is time consuming and expensive, so it should only be followed as a last resort.