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Don’t let the buggers get you down!

So few people complain. I don’t mean moan about the weather or of our too big, too small boobs etc. I mean complain effectively about goods and services.

It amazes me just how many people don’t know their legal rights and of those who do how many then can be fobbed off. Don’t stand for it! I don’t and I do my damndest to try to help others not stand for it either. A few weeks ago someone enlisted my help on Twitter with a company that wouldn’t give her a refund on a cooker, insisting on a repair. I wasn’t having that so pointed out the law and they caved in, not before blocking me though! Backfired on them though, I spent the next couple of hours looking for people who were complaining to the company and who were getting fobbed off and told them their rights! Well it amused me.

So, how do you stop yourself being fobbed off? It’s not that difficult if you know what to say and do.

Your main rights when buying items from shops come under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994. Purchases made from October 1st 2015 will be covered by the Consumer Act 2015 which will also cover digital items such as downloads.

Items should be; of satisfactory quality, last a reasonable length of time, be as described and fit for purpose. Imagine you are wanting to return a faulty cooker. You have had the cooker 27 days. Under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act, you are entitled to a free repair, replacement (or a full refund when you have had the item up to about 4 weeks. This time frame has been firmed up in the newer legislation. After October 1st items are deemed as “accepted” after 30 days. You can insist on a full refund but after this time a retailer can insist on repair or replacement). So what do you do when you take back a faulty item and they try to fob you off? This:

The company tell you:

“You should have bought a warranty” you reply “No, I shouldn’t, my statutory rights are adequate and I have had the item 27 days and therefore I am fully entitled to a full refund.” If you are feeling particularly irate and annoyed Consumer Rights 1500with the shop assistant, ask them to show you where on a warranty you are getting anything better than your statutory rights.

“We will send it back to the manufacturer” you reply “No, you won’t my contract is with you as the retailer and I will have the matter resolved now thank you.”

“We don’t give refunds” and point to a sign saying it. You reply “Really? That’s illegal so I will be reporting you to Trading Standards”. Then there’s the optional “I’ll just take a photo of that and share on social media first”.

“We don’t take items back that were bought in the sale” you reply “That may be the case if the fault was pointed out at point of purchase. However, it wasn’t so my legal rights remain the same and I expect a refund. Thank you.

“You caused the fault” you reply “I did not. Items up to 6 months old with a fault are considered to have had the fault at point of purchase and it is down to the retailer to prove otherwise. Please prove to me how I caused the fault and if you cannot please give me my refund. Thank you.

“You don’t have the receipt so we can’t refund you” you reply “Ah, but I have an alternative proof of purchase, this credit card statement, so I will have my refund please. Thank you.

If you still don’t get what you want, you can complain to the CEO (contact details for all CEOs can be found at CEOemail) and outline the issues.

It’s easy when you know how, I’ve gained redress from numerous companies, including easyJet and even for free gifts! Always assert yourself. That doesn’t mean being rude it just means don’t let the buggers get you down!


Helen Dewdney is The Complaining Cow and is a consumer campaigner that blogs at The Complaining Cow providing lots of tips, guidance, advice and stories of how to gain redress. She regularly appears in the media providing advice and opinion on consumer matters. She is the author of Amazon bestseller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

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