Consumer rights, refunds and returns

A blind man using a tablet
31 Aug 2019

Three questions to ask to get your money back

You’ve bought something and it's broken or it doesn't work, or isn't what you'd expected. Can you get your money back?

To find out, ask yourself the three questions below. If you answer ‘no’ to any of them, you’re protected by the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 and you have the right to a refund, a repair or a replacement.

The trouble with the Consumer Rights Act (2015) is that it’s written in language that’s not easy to understand, and there aren’t many websites that explain it in plain language. So RiDC has put together a guide to consumer rights, written without the legal lingo. It covers goods and services you’ve bought online as well as from a shop.

If you can say ‘no’ to at least one of these questions, you can make a claim:

  1. Was what you bought of satisfactory quality when you received it? If it was damaged or faulty, the answer’s no, and it’s worth making a claim.
  2. Is it fit for purpose? Does it do the job that it was sold to do? (A tin opener must be able to open tins – but don’t expect it to open jars.)
  3. Is it as described? Does it match the way it was described when you bought it? (Size seven leather shoes shouldn’t turn out to be size five and made of plastic.)

The Consumer Rights Act covers you for services you pay for, too.

The law says that a service must be provided 'with reasonable care and skill' or 'as agreed'. If it’s not, the person who provided the service must bring it into line with what was agreed with you. If they can’t set things right, you can claim a price reduction.

For instance, if your haircut is lopsided, they must fix it. If they’ve cut too much off, you can get some money back.

There’s more detail in Your consumer rights, our guide to the Consumer Rights Act (2015).

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008) is separate legislation which protects you against unfair, misleading or aggressive selling tactics.

More information:

Consumer Rights Act (2015)

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (2008)