In a recent survey, 46% of consumers said that they thought it was too much effort to complain, so it isn’t difficult for companies to put many people off as soon as they start to complain.
Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow blogger and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results (RRP £15, on sale 27 Oct 14) says we shouldn't be palmed off, and shares her top tips for asserting your shopping rights:
1. Returning faulty items
Under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 you are entitled to items that are of satisfactory quality, are as described, fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time. If an item breaks in the first six months it is considered that the fault was there at the time of purchase and it is down to the retailer to prove otherwise. After six months it is generally considered that the customer has to prove that the fault was there at the time of purchase.
2. Don't be fobbed off!
Your contract is always with the retailer and not the manufacturer. It is a common fob off with many companies to make you send it back to the manufacturer, assert your legal rights!
3. Get a gift receipt
Where possible get a gift receipt, so that if you buy a present for someone she or he can take it back and get a refund. However, if you buy a present and the receiver just doesn’t like it, the retailer is under no obligation to give a refund although many larger stores will, with many extending their returns policy for Christmas.
4. Proof of purchase
You do not have to have a receipt, you only need a proof of purchase so you can take the item back using, for example, a credit card statement.
5. Getting a refund
After a couple of weeks you are deemed as having "accepted the goods". Before then you can get a refund for faulty items but after that time you may have to accept a repair or replacement. A gift with a gift receipt could be considered as not yet accepted and most companies will give a refund for a faulty item that was a gift and you should certainly push for this.
There's more money-saving advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.