By: Sue Hayward, SueHaywardMedia.com
Feeling ripped off or out of pocket? Want to cancel a contract or get your money back? You may have more power than you think!
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You have up to six years to a refund on faulty goods
Under consumer law the time limit is up to six years to get a refund, repair or replacement on faulty goods. But this doesn't mean sticking the item at the back of a cupboard for five years and eleven months...
Always return faulty goods, (along with proof of purchase), as soon as a fault occurs. While the time limit does stand at six years; once you've had goods for six months or more, it's down to you to prove any fault was there from the start and not due to wear and tear. In some cases this could mean getting an independent inspection to prove your case.
You can buy an extended warranty, change your mind and get your money back
Buy an extended warranty in store and if you change your mind, providing the warranty lasts a year or more, you've got forty five days to cancel. This comes under the Extended Warranties on Domestic Electrical Goods Order 2005 Fair Trading Act. You should cancel in writing and ask for written confirmation when this has been done and cancel any direct debits you've set up with your bank.
You don't need the receipt to get a refund
Faulty goods? You don't have to show the original till receipt to get your money back. It's 'proof of purchase' that counts so this could be a bank or credit card statement; basically some way of proving when and where you bought the item.
You can cancel if you signed a contract for double glazing or a new sofa at home
You've got seven days to cancel contracts made in your home. And it makes no difference whether you called the company or they turned up unannounced on the doorstep.
There are exceptions to this which includes items under 35 GBP, if you're buying perishable goods like flowers or food, or land or insurance. And if you want to quote the official stuff; these rules come under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work 2008.
You can ask your credit card company to stump up a refund
Paying by credit card gives you added protection if what you buy turns out to be faulty, the company you buy from goes bust, or you don't get your goods. Providing the price tag was between 100 GBP and 30,000 GBP, if the company you bought from won't help, you can ask your credit card company to stump up.
And this applies even if you just paid a fraction of the bill on your card, (providing the full cost is 100 GBP plus) and this handy bit of consumer protection applies all over the world. It comes under section 75 of the 1974 Consumer Credit Act which makes the company you buy from and your credit card company jointly liable for your loss.
You can shop online and get a refund for any reason
Shop in the high street and stores don't have to give you a refund if you change your mind; but shop online and you've got more rights as you don't get the chance to 'try before you buy'.
Under the Distance Selling Regulations, which applies to internet shopping, (or by phone, mail order or TV shopping channels), you've got seven working days to return items, (in their original packaging), for a full refund.
You've got the right to free medical treatment across Europe
Providing you've got a valid EHIC, (European Health Insurance Card), you're entitled to free treatment across the EU plus a few other countries. But don't think of this in place of decent travel insurance; consider it an 'extra', as in some cases it's better to play your EHIC card than claim on your travel insurance if there's an excess to pay for medical treatment. Apply for a free card at the Post Office or online via the website.
You can ask financial advisors how much commission they're making from you
Don't be shy - you've got the right to know. Under rules set down by the Financial Services Authority, financial advisers must disclose how much commission they stand to make from you. While lots of us think using 'commission based' advisers is an easy way to get 'free' financial advice remember they can and do make hefty commissions if you decide to sign on the dotted line and buy.
You've got the same rights buying 'sale' items as you have paying full price
That means a refund, repair or exchange if the item's faulty, providing you've got proof of purchase. Just because the item's on sale doesn't mean you forfeit your rights. And stores can't just sell any old rubbish under the 'sale' banner; there's rules in place which mean they can only class items as 'sale' goods if they've genuinely been previously selling at a higher price.
You're entitled to legal advice without paying a solicitor's hourly rate
Want to check where you stand in a dispute or check a point of law? Don't pay 200 GBP plus for an hour's advice; lots of solicitors offer introductory 'fixed fee' appointments where you'll get around thirty minutes of their time for around 25 GBP. Your local Citizens Advice will have details of participating solicitors.
And to get your money's worth make sure you take along a list of questions so you don't forget anything vital!
Sue Hayward is a TV and Radio Presenter specialising in Money, Property and Consumer issues. Sue currently presents a daily TV property show; 'Women In The Property Market' on Sky TV, is a regular money expert on BBC Breakfast and the BBC News Channel and also a panelist on 'Ask The Property Experts' also on Sky TV. Visit Sue's website.