Black Friday and Cyber Monday: What you need to know about your Consumer Rights

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, millions of eager shoppers will be taking advantage of a myriad of money saving deals and offers. Whether you are looking for games consoles or gardening tools there is sure to be a broad range of items to buy at highly discounted prices.

But what are your rights when shopping online? Can you get a refund or exchange if you purchased an item before the sales that is now much cheaper in price?

What can you do if you buy something from a company overseas and receive the wrong item? Do you really have to pay expensive customs fees on a great deal from abroad?

Thomas Pertaia, Legal Adviser at DAS Law, explains what every shopper needs to know…

What if an item I purchased before the Black Friday sales is now at a cheaper price?

If the store’s return policy allows a refund then it may be possible to refund the previous purchase and buy the same item at a discounted price. The law does not entitle you to do this; however, it is worth checking the store’s return policy for discounted items as they generally offer more rights than the law does. For online purchases see: “What rights do I have when shopping online?” below.

I ordered some goods from suppliers outside of the UK and I was sent the wrong item/the item was faulty and the company is refusing to give me a refund, what recourse can I take?

Under EU legislation there is a two year guarantee period for products bought within the EU. If the goods you have received are not as described, not fit for purpose, or not of satisfactory quality, you have the right to request either a repair or replacement. The trader should cover all the costs of arranging this and, if they refuse, then you may have a claim against them. This claim can be brought in either the EU Member State where they are based, or in the UK (of course this may change post-Brexit). Before doing this you should speak to a solicitor or contact an organisation such as the European Consumer Centre for free advice.

If you have purchased goods from outside the EU then the relevant law is that which applies in the trader’s country of origin. This will make it more difficult if they refuse to help fix a faulty product.

If I am buying products from a website outside of the UK, what is the most secure way to pay?

The most secure method of paying for goods online is to use a credit card. If there is a fault, or you are a victim of fraud, on purchases over £100 and up to £30,000, you will have more rights and are more likely to get your money back. In addition to the above protection, which does not extend to debit cards, some protection is also offered under the chargeback scheme. Most cards are covered under this scheme but it’s best to check with the card provider prior to making any purchases.

Can a company based in the UK sue me if I write negative reviews online about their service?

As long as your review is factually correct, or is simply an expression of your honestly held opinion, then it is extremely unlikely to be considered defamatory and a company will probably not have a legal basis to pursue you.

If I order a product and am charged customs fees, do I have to pay them?

Yes you do. If you do not pay duty or customs fees within three weeks, your courier company will usually send the product back to the sender. If you dispute the amount charged then you would need to appeal to HMRC and UK Border Force.

Do I have any legal rights to return something if I have changed my mind?

Although most stores offer a returns policy within a specific period, this is not obligatory if there is nothing wrong with the item. It is always advisable to check each individual store’s returns policy before purchasing – no matter how good a deal it may be at the time. For online purchases see: “What rights do I have when shopping online?” below.

What rights do I have when shopping online?

You have 14 days to return the item if you change your mind – even if there is nothing wrong with the item – starting from the date of delivery, not date of purchase. You may be liable for the costs of sending the item back however, so again check the terms and conditions.

Disclaimer: This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created.

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