Goods bought on or before 28 November 2022

You have rights when you buy goods. This page covers your rights for goods you bought on or before 28 November 2022. On that date new consumer rights laws came into force. If you bought on or after 29 November 2022, you can learn more about your rights on our buying goods page.

What are my consumer rights when buying in a shop?

When you buy something in a shop you are protected. Under consumer law, the item must be:

  • Of merchantable quality – it must be of a reasonable and acceptable standard
  • Fit for the purpose intended – it must be capable of being used for its purpose
  • As described – it must match the description given verbally or in an advertisement

What to do if you have a problem

You and the business should try to agree how the problem will be sorted out. You can ask for a refund, repair, replacement or reduction in price as a solution. However, the law doesn’t set out exactly what you are entitled to when you return a faulty item, so it is up to you to negotiate with the business.

You have the following options:

  • Reject the item – full refund
    If you buy something and it does not work you are entitled to reject it and get a refund from the business. Examples include a new washing machine which fills with water but does not spin or drain, or a new TV with no sound. Both of these examples involve a major fault with the item. If the business fails to repair or replace the item within a reasonable timeframe, you can request a full refund.
  • Repair
    If you discover a fault you are entitled to have the item repaired or replaced free of charge – provided you did not cause the damage. If the fault occurs within the first six months of owning the item, it is considered that the fault was there when you bought it. In general, the seller can offer to repair the item first. If the same fault occurs again, then you should be entitled to a replacement or refund.
  • Replacement
    If it is impossible to repair the item, or if it is more convenient than repairing it, then the business may replace it for you. If you opt for a replacement, it should be the same as the item you bought, or of similar quality and price. You should not have to pay extra for a replacement and should be given the difference in price if the replacement costs less than the item you originally bought.
  • Price reduction
    If the item has been repaired or replaced and it is still not working as it should, you could ask for a reduction in the price you paid for it, if you are happy to put up with the fault. For example, you bought a bicycle with 21 gears which developed a fault and needs to be repaired. After the repair you are told that the bike now only has 18 working gears. You may still be happy to keep it with 18 working gears, but you could ask for a reduction in the price you paid for it.

What if the business refuses to help?

If you have an issue with a product you should first contact the business and ask them to address your issue. If your issue is still unresolved you may wish to then make a complaint to the business.

Last updated on 7 March 2023