If you sell goods that don't conform to contract you are legally obliged to resolve the problem if your customers seek redress. This includes goods that aren't as described, are unfit for their purpose or of unsatisfactory quality.
If you have supplied goods that do not meet the requirements above, there is a short period during which the consumer is entitled to reject them. This short-term right to reject goods lasts for 30 days unless the expected life of the goods is shorter, eg highly perishable goods.
If the consumer asks for repair or replacement during this initial 30-day period, the period is paused during the time it takes for this happen. This means the consumer will have the remainder of the 30-day period, or seven days (whichever is longer) to check whether the repair or replacement has been successful and to decide whether to reject the goods.
Consumer right to a refund
When a consumer rejects goods they can claim a refund. This would be a full refund or, in the case of hire, a refund for any part of the hire that was paid for but not supplied. A refund must be given without undue delay, within 14 days of the trader agreeing that the consumer is entitled to a refund.
The trader is responsible for the reasonable cost of returning the goods except where the consumer is returning them to the place where they got them, eg a retail shop. However, the consumer is not required to return the goods to this place unless this was agreed from the outset as part of the contract. Even if the consumer returns goods to the shop, they may sometimes be able to claim that cost from the trader. For example, where a motor vehicle breaks down and the consumer has to pay for a recovery service to return it.
In law you have a responsibility to your customer for up to six years from the date of purchase. During this period, you are legally obliged to deal with any claim of breach of contract.
Know your legal responsibilities
- Do you need a licence?
- Get the right business insurance
- Comply with the law when providing goods and services
- Know your customers' rights
- Distance and online selling rules
- Understand pricing legislation
- Buying goods from outside NI
- Selling goods outside NI
- GDPR compliance checklist
- Pay your business rates
- Understand staff contracts and your responsibilities
- Taking on contractors and subcontractors
- What you need to do about health and safety
- Know your legal obligations on pensions
Understand tax and VAT
Sell and market your products or services