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Understanding Your Basic Statutory Rights

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 3 Aug 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Understanding Statutory Rights Statutory

Quite often a consumer will see the phrase 'this does not affect your statutory rights' discreetly written on a receipt or notice in the shop. But what exactly are your statutory rights, and how do they relate to consumer rights and the law?

When a consumer purchases goods from a trader (business), then they are entering into a contract with the trader. Under this contract, in UK law, the consumer is given a set of implied rights known as their statutory rights.

The term 'statutory' basically means relating to a statute, which in turn is defined as a law enacted by a legislature. For consumers, the most important statutory rights fall under two sets of legislation - the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. The Sale of Goods Act was later amended by the Sale & Supply of Gods Act 1994, and then again by the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002.

Basic Rights

The law currently states that under these pieces of legislation, a consumer has the right to goods that are deemed to be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and 'as described'. Satisfactory quality implies that the goods are free from any faults or manufacturing defects, safe, resilient and long-lasting, and have a satisfactory appearance and finish.

Fit for purpose entails that the goods are fit for the specific purpose for which they were made. Examples of fit for purpose include waterproof or water resistant goods. The term 'as described' means that the goods on offer should accurately concur with the description applied to them. This includes descriptions such as the size of colour of the goods.

At this point it's worth noting that when entering into a sale with an individual the only consumer right that applies in this instance is that the item is 'as described'. You should also consider that when buying second hand goods, your basic consumer rights still apply, except the law states that it is reasonable that expectation about the durability and performance of the goods should be lowered. Consumer rights also apply to goods bought in sale (stock clearance), but if the goods are on sale because of a defect, then the consumer cannot demand a refund due to that fault at a later stage.

Refunds and Complaints

In UK law, when purchasing from a shop, a consumer is not automatically entitled to a refund if they simply change their mind. Many shops will offer a refund, alternative or replacement purely as a gesture of goodwill, alongside proof of purchase. Unless stated, proof of purchase does not necessarily mean a till receipt - bank and card statements can also be used.

With shop-bought goods, a consumer cannot expect a full refund and has no grounds for complaint if they were provided with information about any faults before purchasing. It is expected that consumers should also examine their goods before making a purchase. Any faults or damage incurred by the consumer cannot be taken into consideration either.

Distance Selling

When making purchases via distance selling methods, consumers are also covered by the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. The Distance Selling Regulations bring a European Directive into UK Law. It is always worth checking whether the supplier you are purchasing from is based within the UK or EU so that you know whether your UK consumer rights will apply. Distance Selling refers to purchases made when the consumer isn't physically present to complete the contract - for instance by mail order, digital television, email or via the Internet. These regulations ensure that consumers have access to written prior information (such as final costs, contact details of the supplier, delivery arrangements and cancellation policies) before making a final purchase.

Under these regulations consumers also have what is commonly referred to as a 7 day cooling-off period. During this time consumers may examine the goods as they would in a shop, change their mind and cancel the contract. The supplier is then expected to make a full refund within 30 days of the delivery of goods or start of the provision of the service.

However, the right to cancel doesn't always apply. This includes instances where goods have been personalised or customised, are perishable (such as with fresh food and flowers), have been unsealed as in the case of CDs and DVDs, or services that have been employed for a specific time and location as with transportation or hotel bookings. In these cases it is always worth checking and keeping record of the terms and conditions of the sale.

Note the DSR has now been replaced by the Consumer Contract Regulations but most of the same principles apply.

Unfair Terms

The Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (UTCCRs) seek to protect consumers against unfair standard terms in contracts made with traders that diminish common law and statutory rights. An unfair term is not considered legally binding, as it inflicts unreasonable burdens on the consumer. The definition of an unfair term is a term that "…contrary to the requirement of good faith…causes a significant imbalance in the parties' rights and obligations under the contract, to the detriment of consumers"

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Jade - Your Question:
I bought some sell items online and the web site had an issue which meant some of the items came up lower then they were meant to be done free of charge. I still paid for some items and delivery and the payment was taken I have order confirmations. I was told I could only cancel my order within the next 60 mins. I have read the T&C which state that once they have taken the money they have entered a contract with me. I have now been refunded but of course the money isn't in my account just yet am I right in thinking as we were in a contract they have to honour there technical error?

Our Response:
A legal contract is only in place when offer (your order), acceptance (the retailer's acceptance) and some consideration (your money) are in place. " Acceptance" of the order isn't necessarily when your order acknowledgement (confirmation) is sent, some retailers only "accept" the order at the point of delivery. Most retailers detail this in their terms and conditions. You say the retailer in question says that once they have taken the money, they have entered into a contract...if this is the case then they should have been legally bound by it. It's made a bit more complicated that while they say they've refunded you, you haven't yet received the refund. This is more a point of contract law than of consumer rights legislation, so you may have to seek professional legal advice if you feel you want to follow it up.
OnlineShoppingRights - 7-Aug-17 @ 10:42 AM
I bought some sell items online and the web site had an issue which meant some of the items came up lower then they were meant to be done free of charge. I still paid for some items and delivery and the payment was taken I have order confirmations. I was told I could only cancel my order within the next 60 mins. I have read the T&C which state that once they have taken the money they have entered a contract with me. I have now been refunded but of course the money isn't in my account just yet am I right in thinking as we were in a contract they have to honour there technical error?
Jade - 3-Aug-17 @ 12:41 AM
rob - Your Question:
Hi,I ordered a sand pit from mother care online on the 29th june for a birthday on the 8th July,the delivery time frame was 5 days so no problem.I had not received or had any e-mail regarding delivery by the 5th july so I rang and e-mailed customer service.I rang 3 times all calls took 45 mins to answer and they could not help as they didn't have a tracking number and could only see the same as me(order pending)I e-mailed and again no help at all,no idea when I would receive my order.I requested them cancel my order by e-mail as It was to late for the birthday and I needed to buy another one and I was concerned that I would end up paying for two.they replied on the 10th July to say they would cancel the order so I thanked them by e-mail.on the 16th July my order turned up and I was duly charged,so now I have two sandpits and I have paid for two.I have contacted mother care customer services twice since to request that the money be put back in my account as It had made me overdrawn and I would incur charges.Mother care customer services have not replied.Any advice

Our Response:
Since it was an online order you have an automatic right to cancel within 14 days of receiving the items, you then have 14 to return them. The retailer should refund you within 14 days. Call their customer services number0344 875 5222. As it's Mothercare's error they should refund the cost of returning the items.
OnlineShoppingRights - 25-Jul-17 @ 12:32 PM
My wife ordered a new mobility scooter 15 days ago being told it would be delivered in 10 days but in meantime was loaed free of charge a used one. She paid in full. The loaned scooter is a great disappointment and she believes a new one will not suite. She wants to cancell the order and be refunded. The agreement says "no cancellations allowed'Is there any rights for me/she to challenge this please
Jack - 22-Jul-17 @ 12:46 PM
hi, I ordered a sand pit from mother care online on the 29th june for a birthday on the 8th July,the delivery time frame was 5 days so no problem. I had not received or had any e-mail regarding delivery by the 5th july so I rang and e-mailed customer service. I rang 3 times all calls took 45 mins to answer and they could not help as they didn't have a tracking number and could only see the same as me(order pending) I e-mailed and again no help at all,no idea when I would receive my order. I requested them cancel my order by e-mail as It was to late for the birthday and i needed to buy another one and I was concerned that I would end up paying for two. they replied on the 10th July to say they would cancel the order so I thanked them by e-mail. on the 16th July my order turned up and I was duly charged,so now I have two sandpits and I have paid for two. I have contacted mother care customer services twice since to request that the money be put back in my account as It had made me overdrawn and i would incur charges. Mother care customer services have not replied. Any advice
rob - 18-Jul-17 @ 7:42 PM
Hello, I was wondering if you could be of any help to me. I purchased a Louis Vuitton hand bag from selfridges 2 months ago, I still have the receipt, it has only been worn on ONE occasion and the plastic covering is still on the front lock. For some reason unknown to me the leather on the back side of the bag has started to bubble, it has been sent back to Louis Vuitton for two opinions and on both occasions they have stated they're not willing to take any action, no repair, no refund, no exchange, simply as they believe it's due to 'wear and tear'. Sorry but I don't believe one wear defines adequate use to blame this issue on wear and tear. I was wondering where I could go from here and if you could be of any help. Thanks
Ms.CP - 16-Jun-17 @ 7:37 PM
Hi .. i buy online a mk jetset red large cross body bag offered £30 online it was showed 8 left. After i ordered its showw 7 left. They have confirm my oder.But after the next day they have send me email the produck of out of stock and theyre giving me my full refund. I think they have lied and made a mistake online putting that amount. And now refuse to give me the product. What should i do? Thanks
Juliet - 26-May-17 @ 11:55 PM
tk - Your Question:
Refectory at our work never gives me receipt when taking card payment, I have asked them again and again but they refuse by saying that the card reader from Lloyds is incapable of printing a copy. I am sure this cannot be right, even though the machine are not printing a copy then they must give that receipt to us, because the bank must be notifying them by some means. I am very annoyed with them as I keep all my receipts to match statements. What are my legal rights on this , anyone to advise?

Our Response:
We are not sure whether it's a legal right. You can demand a VAT receiptfrom a VAT registered retailer (we think they actually have 30 days in which to provide these too). On zero VAT rated items and in non registered retailers there doesn't seem to be a legal requirement to provide a receipt.
OnlineShoppingRights - 24-May-17 @ 2:35 PM
Refectory at our work never gives me receipt when taking card payment, I have asked them again and again but they refuse by saying that the card reader from Lloyds is incapable of printing a copy.I am sure this cannot be right, even though the machine are not printing a copy then they must give that receipt to us, because the bank must be notifying them by some means.I am very annoyed with them as I keep all my receipts to match statements.What are my legal rights on this , anyone to advise?
tk - 23-May-17 @ 1:05 PM
Approached in store to ask if I wanted to take out a credit card ... not to ask if I required assistance ... approached as a hard sale for a credit card. I personally feel harassed in this instance ... is this fair sales?
Patrick - 22-Apr-17 @ 12:14 AM
Kev R - Your Question:
I purchased some Levi jeans from our local shopping centre I got them home and took the labels off but then when I tried them on they were slightly too long in the leg. I returned to the shop with the jeans and labels and till receipt only to be told I could not exchange them for a pair that did fit. Their ratonale was they were an international product and therefore could have been brought elsewhere and also the labels were removed from the jeans meaning they were not in a resalable condition. Upon looking at the receipt it says "in a resalable condition, including package and tags" no reference to the tags being attached to said jeans. I contacted their customer services who said the store was refusing to budge on this. Who is right?

Our Response:
Yes if you buy in a shop, it's up to the retailer to decide whether and how they will accept returns (unlike online purchases where you are able to return items within 14 days if you're not happy with them). You should always make yourself aware of a retailer's returns policy. It's common for retailers not to accept returns if the tags are removed. If the item was faulty you would be able to return it with justa proof of purchase.
OnlineShoppingRights - 9-Mar-17 @ 2:33 PM
I purchased some Levi jeans from our local shopping centre I got them home and took the labels off but then when I tried them on they were slightly too long in the leg. I returned to the shop with the jeans and labels and till receipt only to be told I could not exchange them for a pair that did fit. Their ratonale was they were an international product and therefore could have been brought elsewhere and also the labels were removed from the jeans meaning they were not in a resalable condition. Upon looking at the receipt it says "in a resalable condition, including package and tags" no reference to the tags being attached to said jeans. I contacted their customer services who said the store was refusing to budge on this. Who is right?
Kev R - 8-Mar-17 @ 2:10 PM
Tilly- Your Question:
I bought a sofa which is only 1year 4month old from amazom and the manfactures are refusing to repair or replace the item for me

Our Response:
Not enough information...is it faulty? what's the fault? what did you report and who to? When did the fault occur? Lots more required before we can give any useful information. In general at this stage it's up to you to prove that the fault was there at the of purchase. In general your recourse is via the retailer and not the manufacturer.
OnlineShoppingRights - 1-Mar-17 @ 12:32 PM
I bought a sofa which is only 1year 4month old from amazom and the manfactures are refusing to repair or replace the item for me
Tilly - 27-Feb-17 @ 6:02 PM
I ordered two pairs of Havaiana flip flops from the Havaiana site the total payment was £23 when they arrived VAT had been added on. One pair was not what I expected from the thumb nail picture so requested a refund I now find I have to return themto Italy and have them tracked at me own expense, the invoice states they were shipped originally from Ireland, it will be expensive to ship back to Italy is there anything I can do, i thought distance selling returnswere postage paid please help
loulou - 11-Jan-17 @ 6:09 PM
Looking through face book i came across an advert advertising a lengthening mascara. I filled in my details ready to purchase but did not put my bank details in. As the total cost was two items and £4.95 shipping. I came off the site without filling anything else. I recieved an email daying thank you for my order. Believing that they would realise i had not paid, would not send the product. When they sent an email saying it had been shipped. I emailed back asking why they had sent the product as it wasnt pried as advertised and to cancel this order. They replied that they were a danish firm who sent out products when people land on their sight. They will not send a return lable and itwill cost me over £7 to send this product back. But fear even if recorded delivery is used they might say they have not recieved. What shall o do?
Kaz - 27-Nov-16 @ 11:23 AM
I bought a ring from swarovski in may 2016 for my wife it cost £120.00 & came with a two year warranty. The crystal stones fell out despite following the company care manual so we took it back hoping for a exchange only to be confronted with a barrage of accusations of not following the company manuel from the well versed & rude staff . We called customer services who said we could have a exchange or a gift card but following the bad experience with the rude staff & not convinced the new ring will last i would like a refund & i'm not sure if i'm entitled to one. We have had the ring for six months but with it coming with a two year warranty we don't know our rights can you help us please.
simons 50 - 10-Nov-16 @ 7:27 PM
Lotters - Your Question:
Hi - I would like to return a heavy product that I bought online for a refund. The delivery charge I paid was high due to the weight of the item. Can I expect to have this initial postage charge refunded along with the actual cost of the item? Is it true that I also have to pay another postage charge to return the item to the seller for the refund?

Our Response:
If the item is faulty you do not have to pay to get the item returned (the retailer is responsible). If it's not faulty you still have the right to return it within 14 days but may have to pay the cost of this...check the retailer's terms and conditions to find out.
OnlineShoppingRights - 2-Nov-16 @ 10:42 AM
Hi - I would like to return a heavy product that I bought online for a refund. The delivery charge I paid was high due to the weight of the item. Can I expect to have this initial postage charge refunded along with the actual cost of the item? Is it true that I also have to pay another postage charge to return the item to the seller for the refund?
Lotters - 1-Nov-16 @ 1:40 PM
PhilCwm - Your Question:
Hi, I ordered a coat online (which was indicated as being in stock) then received an email from the retailer a day or two later saying that it wasn't in stock. A short time later I received another email saying that they had sourced the correct size and to ignore their recent messages and that they would send the coat as soon as possible. (Note: this coat is not personalised, made to measure or anything)On receipt of the coat my partner decided (immediately) it wasn't for her and wished to return it, when I requested a return the company told me that as they had bought the coat in, that their terms and conditions excluded them from having to provide a refund, they state this in their returns policy - 'If your product has been ordered in especially for you it is not eligible for a refund'. To be honest I hadn't read their terms, but when ordering 'unseen' items of clothing I'd always assumed you had the right to return them.So, are they correct in that they don't have to provide a refund? Thanks.

Our Response:
We think that the consumer rights legislation should cover this and it sounds as though the retailer is trying to avoid complying with it. You have a right to cancel an order for goods bought online for up to 14 days after you receive them.
OnlineShoppingRights - 1-Nov-16 @ 9:56 AM
Hi, I ordered a coat online (which was indicated as being in stock) then received an email from the retailer a day or two later saying that it wasn't in stock. A short time later I received another email saying that they had sourced the correct size and to ignore their recent messages and that they would send the coat as soon as possible. (Note: this coat is not personalised, made to measure or anything) On receipt of the coat my partner decided (immediately) it wasn't for her and wished to return it, when I requested a return the company told me that as they had bought the coat in, that their terms and conditions excluded them from having to provide a refund, they state this in their returns policy - 'If your product has been ordered in especially for you it is not eligible for a refund'. To be honest I hadn't read their terms, but when ordering 'unseen' items of clothing I'd always assumed you had the right to return them. So, are they correct in that they don't have to provide a refund? Thanks.
PhilCwm - 1-Nov-16 @ 7:42 AM
den - Your Question:
I bought a corner sofa online it is still under warrantee the leather has started to split.i contacted the company as it is less than 12months old they are refusing to help as I cant find the receipt even though I pointed out that as I have an account with them and they could check my purchase history I can also provide evidence from my bank and PayPal.where do I stand.

Our Response:
You should take up any warranty issues with the warranty company this is separate from your consumer rights. As for your rights as a consumer in general you'd expect a leather sofa to last more than 12 months if it's not had excessive wear and tear. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that if it is more than 6 months since you purchased the product, you must prove that the product was faulty at the time of purchase, you might need an expert to prove this. You don't need the actual receipt as proof of purchase, a retailer has to also accept other evidence such as a bank statement, account records, packaging etc
OnlineShoppingRights - 4-Oct-16 @ 2:14 PM
I bought a corner sofa online it is still under warrantee the leather has started to split.i contacted the company as it is less than 12months old they are refusing to help as I cant find the receipt even though I pointed out that as I have an account with them and they could check my purchase history i can also provide evidence from my bank and PayPal .where do I stand.
den - 3-Oct-16 @ 7:34 PM
Hi I purchased a bed from online. When it was delivered it wouldn't fit up the stairs so we had to refuse delivery.It's worth pointing out here that They didn't ring or email to say when the delivery would be just had a man knock on the door so it was lucky I was in. When I contacted them to ask for a refund they said they would refund less a £80 charge for their direct carriage. Can they do this ?They are saying it is in their terms of sale but can they still apply this charge? Pls can someone help !. Thanks
Harry - 26-Aug-16 @ 7:16 PM
On the 14/7/16 i bought 3 items from argos. A 3 door wardrobe, 2 door wardrobe and a 5 drawer chest of drawers. This was at a discounted price, the items were in a sale. I specifically bought the Hygena range as it is known fot its well made, quality furniture. I specifically chose the duck egg blue range also and have renovated, at great cost, around the furniture argos should be delivering in the duck egg blue. Delivery should of been 26/8/16. I recieved an automated call saying my order cannot be fulfilled. Having spoken to the customer services, the say the range has been discontinued. It was in stock when i bought it. They have said i can have a full refund or swap it like for like. I have said i will settle for the same range, but in a different colour. Now this colour is full price and have said i will have to pay the difference, which is £230, argos have offered a £50 discount. It is thier mistake and i believe i am paying for it. I had entered into a contract with argos by placing an order, they have accepted and taken my money and have failed to deliver. What are my rights? Should argos fullfill the original order, like for like, as they say. They said i can swap for items in the same price range but there is nothing satisfactory. Help :(
imt - 20-Aug-16 @ 11:15 PM
Pammy2704 - Your Question:
I bought a sofa from a shop on ebay. After just 7 weeks of using the sofa the faux leather has stated tearing away from the stitching. We are currently frighten to sit on it as afraid it may split completely. Do I have the right to ask for a refund? They have offered me a goodwill gesture of £50 and keep the sofa which considering I paid nearly £400 for it I found quite insulting as we cant use it. They also offered a replacement but only if I return in original packaging but I dont have that as I did not expect a sofa to do that after only 7 weeks. Thanks

Our Response:
This depends on whether the item was new, whether it was bid for or bought on "by it now" etc. This Which Guide might be useful to you.
OnlineShoppingRights - 13-Jun-16 @ 12:58 PM
I bought a sofa from a shop on ebay. After just 7 weeks of using the sofa the faux leather has stated tearing away from the stitching. We are currently frighten to sit on it as afraid it may split completely. Do i have the right to ask for a refund? They have offered me a goodwill gesture of £50 and keep the sofa which considering i paid nearly £400 for it i found quite insulting as we cant use it. They also offered a replacement but only if i return in original packaging but i dont have that as i did not expect a sofa to do that after only 7 weeks. Thanks
Pammy2704 - 10-Jun-16 @ 3:01 PM
Phil - Your Question:
I bought 2sample face creams on the internet not realising I was entering into a monthly subscription -I have just received an order and the cost is astronomical £89.99 for one and 79.99 for anotherThe company won't do anything I have now cancelled all but am left £150.00 out of pocketWhat can I do it's a company in HollandI'm a single parent I can't afford to lose this kind of moneyDesperate

Our Response:
As it's not a UK company it will be more difficult to take action under the Consumer Rights Act. However when shopping online within the EU you have to be clearly informed about the total price of the goods or services inclusive of all taxes and additional charges andyou should explicitly acknowledge, for instance by pressing a button or similar, that you are aware that placing an order implies an obligation to pay.A trader is not permitted to charge you for these services unless you explicitly opted for them. Using a pre-ticked box on the trader's website does not constitute such consent and you would be entitled to reimbursement of any payment which has been collected in such a way.
If you think the contract was not obvious when you purchased the samples, then you should speak to someone at your local Citizen's Advice Bureau to see if they can contact the firm on your behalf to negotiate at least a partial refund - you must return the items that you've been sent, unopened first of all.
OnlineShoppingRights - 26-May-16 @ 10:53 AM
I bought 2sample face creams on the internet not realising I was entering into a monthly subscription -I have just received an order and the cost is astronomical £89.99 for one and 79.99 for another The company won't do anything I have now cancelled all but am left £150.00 out of pocket What can I do it's a company in Holland I'm a single parent I can't afford to lose this kind of money Desperate
Phil - 23-May-16 @ 2:19 PM
I am in dispute re a car bought last year from a known garage, that now needs work done on it. The car needs a new seat belt sensor, under the terms of the warranty they are saying it is out of warranty The warranty states that it runs from 30th June 2015 for 9 months. I managed to get an appointment on 31 St march 2016 at the garage, for them to assess the work to be done, now the warranty company are disputing whether it's in date, under warranty for the work to carried out without cost to me, where do I stand?
Freda - 11-Apr-16 @ 7:58 AM
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