Consumers urged to understand their rights this National Consumer Week

Friday 2 September

People are being urged to seek redress from retailers that sell faulty electrical goods this Christmas after a survey found two-thirds of consumers have bought problem goods in the last two years. 

The advice comes at the launch of National Consumer Week which runs until Sunday 4th December and encourages people to get #SwitchedOn to their consumer rights and shop with confidence. 

The Citizens Advice research, released today reveals 1 in 4 (28%) people were initially turned away by retailers when they tried to get a repair, replacement or refund, despite the retailer having a responsibility to offer a solution. 

The survey also showed that persistence paid off, with 61% of those who were turned away eventually getting some form of solution from the retailer. 

It is hoped that focusing consumers’ minds during the busy Christmas period will help them to understand their rights which they can exercise all year round. 

The campaign is run by Citizens Advice, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

Local Trading Standards services up and down the country are also supporting the campaign by helping businesses to understand their responsibilities under the act. 

Councillor Pauline Grahame – Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said: “Trading standards teams are keen to help businesses and ensure they don’t fall foul of the law.  Taking a responsible and proactive approach can help avoid difficulties further down the line, which is better for the business and the customer.  Businesses that understand their customers’ rights can also expect repeated and trouble-free custom from them.” 

David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “National Consumer Week is the perfect time for people to learn about their rights and for retailers to check they are doing right by their customers.  Consumer rights are there to protect you when something goes wrong with a product or service - never be afraid to use them.” 

Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive, said: “Retailers are responsible for training their staff but consumers should spend a few minutes familiarising themselves with their right for a repair, refund or replacement.  Consumers who know their rights shop with confidence, saving time and money which is good for all concerned.  People should consider their rights whenever they make a purchase but they may wish to take extra care at Christmas.  Nobody wants to give or receive a defective product but it is important to know how to resolve any issues, should they arise.” 

Consumer advice is available from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or online on www.citizensadvice.org.uk 

Free and impartial business advice on a host of trading standards legislation is available on the government-sponsored website, www.businesscompanion.co.uk