St Helens South and Whiston MP, Marie Rimmer is 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.
As Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Group on Consumer Rights, Marie Rimmer supported a recent 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.
Marie Rimmer MP said:
“People aren’t getting the solutions for faulty products they’re entitled to. As people head to 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.
“As Vice-Chair of the Consumer Rights APPG, I’m concerned by the stories I’ve heard about companies trying to push customers away instead of taking responsibility.
“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.”
The CAB have released their top tips guide for protecting your consumer rights this Christmas.
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.
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 via the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506
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.