Customer protection

Customers' rights to reject goods and claim refunds


If customers believe that goods hired or purchased from you aren't as described, fit for their purpose, or of satisfactory quality, they can reject them. There is an exception where they are hiring or purchasing in the course of a business and the fault is so slight it would be unreasonable to do so.

This generally means you must refund all money paid and pay compensation for any loss or expense the customer has incurred as a result of the rejection.

When goods are purchased the customer loses the right to reject goods if they accept them. Customers are considered to have accepted goods when they:

  • tell you they have accepted them
  • alter them
  • keep them for a reasonable length of time - this varies according to the nature of the goods

Even if the goods have been accepted, the customer may still be able to claim some money back.

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