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 Home Key Fact Sheets Consumer Rights

Key Facts - Consumer Rights

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 lays down certain rules that sellers, whether shops or online, must adhere to.

These are:

  • The goods must be as described (eg a ring described as being a diamond ring should contain a diamond).
  • The goods must be of merchantable quality and be safe.
  • The goods must not be damaged unless the damage is pointed out to you prior to purchase.
  • The goods must be fit for the purpose the seller knows you are buying them for.

In addition, when you buy goods through "distance selling", eg over the internet or from a catalogue, you have the following additional rights:

  • A clear description of the goods you are about to purchase, before you purchase them.
  • the description confirmed in writing after you have made your purchase.
  • a cancellation period, where you can cancel the order without reason and obtain a full refund (this cannot be less than 7 days after the goods have been received, unless the goods are personalised to your requirements or perishable, and may be longer if the vendor has not provided you with details of your cancellation rights).
  • a full refund if the goods are not received by the agreed date. If no date was agreed then you can get a refund if the goods do not arrive within thirty days. You may be responsible for returning the goods to the vendor and the cost of returning the goods, if the vendor has stipulated this in the contract.
  • you should receive your refund within 30 days of the vendor receiving written notice of cancellation.

Note that the above additional rules do not apply to online auctions, financial services or real estate.