Ipswich Citizens Advice is offering advice to residents this Christmas on how to resolve shopping problems from faulty Christmas gifts to sale items that aren’t up to scratch.
Ipswich Citizens Advice helped with over 500 enquiries about consumer products and services in the last 12 months including a brand-new reclining chair that needed repair within two months of purchase, and a client who took his laptop in for a cracked screen to be replaced and got it back weeks later to find that his processor had been switched, without his knowledge, for a slower and cheaper alternative. We also helped with over 150 problems with utilities issues such as internet and mobile phone providers.
Nationally, Citizens Advice consumer service dealt with nearly 600,000 enquiries in the last year from people who wanted help resolving problems with goods or services or more information about their rights.
As Christmas presents are unwrapped and sale shopping gets underway, Ipswich Citizens Advice is offering top tips explaining your consumer rights and what you should do if you’re unhappy with your purchases.
Nicky Willshere, Chief Executive of Ipswich Citizens Advice said:
“Problem presents and faulty sale items can cause headaches over the festive period, but there’s lots you can do to resolve issues with your purchases.
“Whether an online order isn’t what you were expecting or you’ve received a gadget that doesn’t work, you can use your consumer rights to get problem items fixed, or get your money back.”
Faulty goods? – If you’ve bought something which turns out to be faulty, poor quality or not fit for purpose, you can return it within 30 days and get an exchange, repair or a refund. It doesn’t matter if you bought it online or shopped in store, your rights remain the same.
Changed your mind about a purchase? If you shopped in-store, you’ve got no legal right to return an item because you’ve had second thoughts. However some stores have their own policy allowing you to do this, so ask in store or check their website. If you’ve bought something online, the law does allow you to return an item you’re not sure about within 14 days.
Problem with a present? The right to return a faulty product lies with the person who bought it. They’ll need proof of purchase, and should return it within 30 days. If you can’t tell the giver that there’s a problem, it’s still worth checking with the retailer if they’re able to accept your return.
Returning a gift? If you’ve been given a present which isn’t faulty but you don’t want to keep, you have no legal right to return it. However, some shops have their own policy on this and will offer you a refund, exchange or credit note.
Buying faulty items in the sales? Christmas sales can include products which are marked down because they’re faulty. If you’ve bought a faulty item, you can’t return it because of the fault that was pointed out to you. If there’s a different problem, your usual rights apply and you can return it within 30 days.
Second thoughts on sale shopping? Shops which accept goods you’ve changed your mind about can alter their policy during the sales. For example, they may reduce their return period from 28 days to 14 days, or not accept returns at all. Ask before you buy.
Can’t resolve a problem? If you’re struggling to resolve a problem with a purchase Citizens Advice can help. Go online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk, visit your local service or call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for the Welsh language line.