Returns and refunds, warranties and complaints

Customers' rights to return goods

When customers purchase goods from you they're 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 consumer is entitled to reject them. This short-term right to reject goods lasts for 30 days.

If goods don't meet these criteria, purchasers can claim a refund if they haven't already 'accepted' them. Customers accept goods if they tell you they have accepted them, alter the goods or keep them for a reasonable length of time. They can't, however, reject goods simply because they've changed their mind.

Though customers can't claim a refund after accepting goods, they can claim compensation of some sort. This can be monetary but could be the repair or replacement of goods. If your customer is a consumer - an individual not acting in the course of business - they can specifically ask for a repair or replacement.

All customers have up to six years to claim compensation. The exact amount of time depends on the product, though it's for your customer to prove it was faulty when sold. But if your customer is a consumer and asks for a repair or replacement during the first six months after sale, it's up to you to prove the goods weren't faulty.

See customer protection.