Thursday, 1 December 2016

Backing the campaign to help shoppers get problems with faulty goods solved


I am backing National Consumer Week, a campaign to help people use their consumer rights to get problems with faulty goods like TVs, laptops and mobile phones resolved.

Research from Citizens Advice has revealed that two thirds of people had a problem with faulty electrical goods in the last two years.

However, 1 in 4 people were turned away by retailers when they tried to get a refund, a replacement item or get their item repaired, despite it being the retailer’s responsibility to help.

The research also showed that persistence paid off, with 61% of people who were initially turned away going on to get some form of solution.


The survey findings suggest that both shoppers and retailers may not be aware of their rights and responsibilities around faulty electrical goods.

On Tuesday I attended an event in parliament which explored the problems people face in getting a solution from retailers, and highlighted issues around counterfeit electrical items which in some cases can be unsafe.

People aren’t getting the solutions for faulty products they’re entitled to.

As people hit the shops for Christmas, it’s important that they get to know their consumer rights so they can return faulty items in the confidence that shops have a duty to help them.

If you’ve got a faulty product and you’re struggling to get your money back, get a replacement item or get it repaired, contact Citizens Advice for further help.”

It's worth checking out Citizens Advice’s top tips to help shoppers to get “switched on” to their consumer rights, so they can get problems with electrical goods solved.

Electrical goods - what you need to know

Don’t put up with broken electrical goods - if an item breaks and it’s not your fault, you have a right to a free repair, replacement or refund depending when and where you bought it.

Use the Citizens Advice faulty goods tool to work out what you’re entitled to.

What to do when an item is faulty

● Don’t attempt to fix it yourself - this could stop you getting redress because it will make it harder to prove you did not cause the fault. You may also risk injuring yourself.
● Return it to the retailer - It’s the responsibility of the retailer to help you resolve the problem, not the manufacturer. They should cover the costs of returning the item - contact them first to check the best way to do this and to negotiate an option that’s most convenient for you.

Getting a repair, replacement or refund

● Bought within the last 30 days - you can get a refund on a faulty product.
● Bought within the last 6 months - you are entitled to have it repaired or replaced once. If the item still doesn’t work you should get a full refund.
● Bought more than 6 months ago - you may still get a repair or replacement but you will only get a partial refund to reflect the use you’ve got out of the item. You’ll need to prove you didn’t cause the fault which may make it harder to get redress.
● Repair doesn’t work? If you have one repair and it doesn’t succeed, you can ask for a full or partial refunding, depending on when the purchase was made.
● Replaced with something different? The retailer should try to replace the item like-for-like. This may not always be possible, so if you’re offered something you don’t want you can ask for a refund.

What to do when an item is unsafe
● Stop using it - and unplug it if applicable.
● Inform Trading Standards - report it via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06, or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh speakers.
● If it gets recalled, follow the manufacturer’s guidance - this could include not leaving the item unattended when in use. For peace of mind you may want to stop using it altogether.


Notes

1. Citizens Advice carried out a survey with 1032 adults living in the UK in September 2016.
2. National Consumer Week is headed up by Citizens Advice, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.