What rights do consumers have in the UK?


Consumers have a range of rights protected under national legal provisions and also have extensive protection through EU law. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with your rights so that you know how to ensure they are observed. If you run into any problems with a retailer, you should check what particular rights apply in that situation. Whilst there are many general rights that apply to all consumer transactions, there are also laws covering specific goods, services and transaction types. For further information on a consumer dispute, contact a consumer rights lawyer for legal advice. Some of the rights that are most relevant to UK consumers are listed below.

Goods must be as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 is the main piece of UK law setting out basic consumer rights. It says that consumers have the right to expect that goods purchased are as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality.

Right to refund, repair or replacement

If your purchased goods are not satisfactory, you may be able to make a claim for up to six years if you are in England or Wales. The time limit for Scottish consumers to make a claim is five years.
Consumers are entitled to a full refund if the goods are not of satisfactory quality or do not match their description, as long as the consumer informs the seller within a reasonable period of time. The consumer may also request a repair or replacement of the goods. The seller must comply with the consumer’s request so long as repairing or replacing the goods would not be too costly or impractical. If a repair or replacement is not possible, the consumer may be entitled to a reduction in the price of the goods.

Additional laws provide consumer rights on points such as:

  • Credit cards
  • Mobile phones
  • Insurance policies
  • Tickets
  • Online shopping
  • Overseas purchases

If you have a consumer dispute, there are many sources of assistance, including Consumer Direct and the Office of Fair Trading. A consumer rights lawyer will be able to assist you with any difficulty or queries.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on consumer rights, Caven can put you in touch with local commercial and consumer solicitors free of charge. So, if you have any questions or would like our help in finding a local specialist solicitor please call us on 08001 221 2299 or complete the web-form above.

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