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This week is National Consumer Week – Know your rights when buying on-line

National Consumer Week 2018 is from 26th November to 2nd December. The campaign this year is focusing on your rights when buying from an on-line marketplace – that is websites where traders and private individuals list and sell products. At this time of year in the run-up to Christmas a lot of people will be making purchases on line and it is important to know your rights as a consumer as they can be different depending on where you buy from.
When a purchase is made from an on-line trader you have the same rights as if you were buying from any on-line store. This means you normally have 14 days to change your mind and get a full refund. If there is a problem with the purchase you are entitled to a refund, replacement or repair within the first 30 days after you’ve bought it. If it can’t be repaired or replaced then in most cases during the first 6 months you are entitled to a full refund
If you are buying from an individual private seller then the principle of “buyer beware” applies. This means that goods have to be how they were described to you by the seller. However, and this is important, the seller doesn’t have to disclose any faults to you – though the seller can’t misrepresent goods, for example claiming that something used is brand new.
Wherever you bought your on-line purchase if you have a problem with your online purchase you should always contact the seller first to try to sort things out. Check whether the trader belongs to an alternative dispute resolution scheme as this may help you to resolve the issue. If not the last resort is the small claims court, which is to be avoided if at all possible.
Remember that if the seller arranged delivery and the item hasn’t turned up or it was delivered to the wrong location it’s the seller’s legal responsibility to sort out the issue.
For help with problems arising from on-line purchases or any other consumer matter contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service between 9am and 5 pm Monday to Friday on 03454 040506 or textphone 18001 03454 04 05 06. Alternatively go to