South Kesteven Citizens Advice Bureau is calling on residents across the district to use their new consumer rights to hold businesses to account when goods and services don’t come up to scratch.
National Consumer Week launches on Monday and will highlight how the new Consumer Rights Act, which was introduced on October 1, helps people to shop with confidence, compare deals and get their money back when things go wrong.
South Kesteven Citizens Advice Bureau helped with several enquiries about consumer products and services in the last 12 months ranging from a faulty stairlift to problems with mobile phone contracts
Nationally, Citizens Advice Consumer Service dealt with nearly 600,000 enquiries in the same period from people who wanted help resolving problems with goods or services or more information about their rights.
Now South Kesteven Citizens Advice Bureau is encouraging people to ‘know their rights’ by sharing the five big changes that will help people to understand exactly what they are buying, and how to resolve problems:
• Got a dodgy download? Previously, it wasn’t clear if you could get a replacement when digital content such as films, games, music or e-books were faulty. Now, the law is much clearer and you’ve got a right to a repair or replacement.
• Want your money back? You may have tried to take a faulty item back and been offered an exchange or a credit note. From 1 October, if you get a product that’s faulty, poor quality or not fit for purpose, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund.
• Bamboozled by the small print? In the past, terms and conditions were often tucked away in the small print. Now, important terms and conditions must be made more prominent. This makes it easier to know what you’re signing up to, but also makes it easier to compare contracts so you know you’re getting the best deal.
• Poor quality purchase? It can be hard to prove that something just isn’t as good as you were expecting. The new Act states that products must match the description given. If they don’t, your rights to a refund can come into play.
• Can’t resolve a dispute? Resolving a dispute has been made easier.
Previously consumers would often have to pay to take businesses to a small claims court to get their problem sorted. Now it’s easier for people to go via Alternative Dispute Resolution, which uses other routes to solving disputes such as going to an Ombudsman for free.
A spokesman for South Kesteven Citizens Advice Bureau said: “Shopping should be hassle free but time and again we see people caught out by the small print or struggling to get their money back. It’s now easier for people to know what they’re signing up for before they buy, and what they’re entitled to when a product isn’t up to scratch. We’re encouraging people to compare deals, to make sure they get what they pay for, and to use their new rights to solve their consumer problems.”
Anyone who needs advice on goods and services they’ve purchased can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06, go online at www.citizensadvice.org.uk or visit South Kesteven Citizens Advice Bureaux.