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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 to 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.

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 the sale, it's up to you to prove the goods weren't faulty.