Buying second-hand goods

What are my rights if I buy something second-hand from a business?

When you buy a second-hand item from a business, you have similar rights to when you buy a new item. However, your rights very much depend on how much you paid for the item. Any item you buy, including a second-hand item, must be fit for the purpose it has been sold for. It must also be as described to you, and the quality must be of an expected standard, given the price you paid. However you cannot expect second-hand items to be of the same standard as new ones.

Second-hand items are sold as seen, so there may be some fault, imperfection or wear and tear. You need to examine the item carefully and ask the business to point out any damage or imperfections. Make sure the item does what it is expected to do. For example, if it is a second-hand TV, check that the picture and sound are working correctly, the reception is clear and the remote control works as it should.

For expensive items such as jewellery or antiques, you might want to get an expert opinion before you decide to buy. With second hand cars, you should follow our checklist on how to check out a car.

If the item turns out to be faulty, you have the right to return it to the business you bought it from and ask for a replacement, a repair or a refund.

What if I buy something from another consumer?

If you buy new or second-hand items from another consumer either directly or on a social media site, you have no consumer rights as you are not buying from a business. The item only has to be owned by the seller and fit the description they give you. So it is important to check the item before you buy and it’s very much a case of buyer beware.

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