Know your rights when electrical goods don't work

Posted by George Coburn in Personal Finance on 1 December 2016 - George is a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile

Consumers are being urged by the Citizens Advice Bureau to brush up on their rights when it comes to purchasing electrical goods that turn out to be faulty. The charity warns that too many people are being denied their rights by companies, who refuse to repair or refund, leaving them out of pocket with items that don’t operate as intended.

According to a survey conducted by Citizens Advice, around two thirds of consumers experienced problems with faulty goods and a quarter of those questioned said they’d experienced difficulties getting the matter resolved with the seller. What many people don’t realise is that it is the retailer, not the manufacturer, who need to solve the problem so if you feel you’re being palmed off to the manufacturer, it is possible this is a breach of your consumer rights.

To help combat the matter, Citizens Advice has teamed up with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to promote consumer rights through a National Consumer week campaign. The aim is to raise consumer awareness on their rights and what to do if things go wrong.

Speaking about the launch of the campaign, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy said, “People shouldn’t be left out of pocket because an item they’ve bought is faulty.

“It’s important to understand your rights so you know when a retailer has to offer you a solution. While some shoppers faced resistance at first, the majority did get the repair, refund or replacement they were entitled to - so don’t be afraid to stand your ground.

“Retailers must also recognise their responsibilities to shoppers so they know when to help people, instead of turning them away.”

Of those surveyed, a common theme was consumers being sent incorrectly by the retailer to the manufacturer (28%) which only delayed matters. Despite this, it did find that those who were persistent with retailers often got some form of redress. What Citizens Advice have concluded about the matter is it appears both consumers and retails aren’t clear on what the correct processes are for when electrical goods go wrong.

Generally speaking Citizens Advice recommend not tampering with faulty goods because this could prevent you from getting a replacement or refund. When an item is faulty, it should be returned to the retailer and the consumer shouldn’t be expected to cover the cost of sending it back to the seller.

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