Customer protection

Customers' rights to reject goods and claim refunds

Guide

What customers are entitled to do if they believe goods are inadequate including when they have the right to reject good and get a refund from the business
If your customer is a consumer, they are legally entitled to expect certain things. 
Under the Consumer Rights Act

  • Goods must match the description you give of them - in writing, as an illustration or in speech.
  • Goods must be 'fit for their purpose'. If people buy a pen, for instance, it must be capable of writing. But this requirement also means that if a customer tells you they want an item for a particular purpose, you should tell them if you have doubts about its suitability.
  • Goods must be of 'satisfactory quality' - they must be durable, safe and free from minor, as well as major defects.

If, when they are supplied, they do not meet the requirements above, there is a short period during which the customer 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 customer 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.

Time restrictions

Customers in Northern Ireland have six years to claim that goods are faulty.

During the first six months of that period, if the customer is a consumer, you must prove that the goods weren't inherently faulty. After that time it's up to the consumer to prove that they were faulty at the time of sale. If they can, you'll have to offer a repair, replacement or compensation.

    If you sell goods or services online, by telephone, by mail order or away from your normal trading premises, consumers may have a right to cancel a contract within a 14 day cooling off period and make a return. For more information see distance and online selling rules.

    • Trading Standards Service Northern Ireland
      0300 123 6262