Consumer

Whether you are thinking of buying a second hand car or have returned from a disappointing holiday, this section will link you to guides and information to help you as a consumer.

1. GENERAL INFORMATION ON YOUR RIGHTS

This includes details on your general rights when you buy goods or services.

Please click on the links below to be taken to your desired section. If you would like information on how to protect your personal information, find out about the information held about you or stop unwanted letters, texts or phone calls please visit our LEGAL AND CRIME section under PRIVACY AND ACCESS TO INFORMATION

SCAMS

There is more information in Section 2 under GUIDES AND INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC PURCHASES (Phones and Post)


Different ways in which you can be scammed

You can be scammed through the post, on the phone, via text message or from someone on your doorstep.
Find out about ways you can be scammed and how to spot a scam here
Source: Citizens Advice

How to help someone being scammed 
You may be concerned as a carer, relative, friend or neighbour of someone who is vulnerable to scams because they have a mental health or learning difficulty or are older
Find out more about what you can do to try and avoid it happening here
Source: Citizens Advice

Helping Seniors Stay Safe at Home
This toolkit has been produced to inform people about fraud involving older people and to gives you tools and tips to help you avoid being affected.
To access the toolkit click here
Source: Home Instead Senior Care & the Police & Crime Commissioner for Cleveland

COMPUTER AND ONLINE SCAMS

Scammers can take over your computer to con you out of money, through viruses or stealing your identity.

Find out about the more common scams and get tips on how to avoid being a victim here
Source: Citizens Advice

FINDING A REPUTABLE TRADER

Find an approved car garage
It's a good idea to use an approved car garage for work on your car, such as a service, repair or MOT. These garages all have clear complaints procedures, so if something goes wrong you'll have a better chance of resolving your problem.
Click here for a tool which can help you find an approved garage.
Source: Citizens Advice

Building organisations
This section lists organisations that can assist when you have building work done. Look here for trade associations to help you find a trader or deal with a dispute.
Click here for a list of organisations that can help
Source: Citizens Advice

Finding a trustworthy trader
This page gives you tips on how to find a trustworthy trader.
Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

2. GUIDES AND INFORMATION ON SPECIFIC PURCHASES

Useful guides to help you with specific situations e.g. buying a used car.

Please click on the links below to be taken to your desired section. 

CARS AND VEHICLES

Before buying a used car
There are steps you can take to help you avoid buying a car that’s been badly damaged, stolen or illegally altered. They’ll also simply help you get a car that doesn’t break down.

Click here for more information on the checks you can make to help save you distress and money down the line.
Source: Citizens Advice

Problems with a used car
If there’s something wrong with your used car (eg it’s breaking down, the brakes have gone or it’s been clocked), you may have a legal right to a repair, the cost of a repair, or some or all of your money back.

Click here to find out more about your rights if something goes wrong.
Source: Citizens Advice

Getting help from a motor trade association
If you’ve got a problem with your car, for example a fault or a bad repair, the first step is to speak to the garage or dealership responsible. If you can’t get it sorted out with them directly, a trade association could help as long as the garage or dealership is a member.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice Bureau

Find an approved car garage
It's a good idea to use an approved car garage for work on your car, such as a service, repair or MOT. These garages all have clear complaints procedures, so if something goes wrong you'll have a better chance of resolving your problem.

Click here for help on finding an approved garage.
Source: Citizens Advice

BUILDERS

Before you get building work 
These steps should help you save time, money and stress when you’re preparing to get building work, renovations or repairs done on your home. They’ll also help you avoid problems with builders, plumbers or other contractors, eg decorators and electricians.

Click here for the steps you should follow.
Source: Citizens Advice

Problem with building work, decorating or home improvements
If you’ve had work done at home and there’s a problem caused by the trader, you should be able to get it fixed - or get at least some of your money back.
Click here for information on what you can do.
Source: Citizens Advice

Cancelling building or decorating work
If you’ve arranged for a contractor or company to do building, decorating or landscaping work on your home but then change your mind, your right to cancel and get your money back will depend on several things.
Click here to check what your rights are.
Source: Citizens Advice

Building organisations
This link lists organisations that can assist when you have building work done. Look here for trade associations to help you find a trader or deal with a dispute.
Click here for the information.
Source: Citizens Advice

PHONES, TV, INTERNET AND COMPUTERS

Switch broadband, phone or TV provider
You might be able to save money by either switching to a new provider for your broadband, mobile phone, home phone or TV
Click here to learn more about switching provider
Source: Citizens Advice

Dispute a mobile, phone, internet or TV bill
Learn more about how to dispute a bill or what to do with a bill if your phone has been stolen.
Click here for more information and also a link to a template letter.
Source: Citizens Advice

Problem with an app, software or download
You might be entitled to a replacement, repair or part-refund if something’s gone wrong with software, a download or an application you bought on or after 1 October 2015.
Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Stop getting nuisance calls and texts
There are some actions you can take to stop getting nuisance calls that you don’t want.
Click here to find out more about what you can do.
Source: Citizens Advice Bureau

Cancelling a phone, TV, internet or mobile contract
You should check the terms and conditions of your contract to find out what your cancellation rights are. You’ll probably have to pay a fee to cancel a contract if you've decided you don't want it anymore.
Click here to find out if you are legally entitled to cancel the contract without a fee.
Source: Citizens Advice

What to do if your mobile phone is lost or stolen
Click here to get advice and guidance on what to do.
Source: Citizens Advice

Complain about a premium rate phone charge or text message
You can report a company if you think they didn’t make it clear that a phone number was premium rate. You can also complain about a premium text message service if you think the company didn’t make the costs clear enough. 
Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

 

BUYING A TV LICENCE

The link below gives more information on the discounts and exemptions, how to pay and who has to have a licence.

Find out more information here
Source: TV Licencing

HOLIDAYS

Cancelling a holiday
Your rights to cancel a holiday (or a particular part of a holiday like a flight or a hotel booking) usually depend on the terms and conditions of your booking, and your reason for wanting to cancel. You might be entitled to cancel the holiday without a cancellation fee if the holiday company changes the holiday or puts the price up after you book.
Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Claim compensation if your flight's delayed or cancelled
If you booked a flight that departed from Europe or was with a European airline, you might have rights under EU law if your flight is delayed or cancelled.
Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Get airline compensation for lost or delayed luggage
You have the legal right to claim compensation from the airline if your checked-in luggage is delayed, lost or damaged.
Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Claim compensation for a holiday
If something went wrong with your holiday you might be able to get compensation from the company you booked with. Your legal rights depend on whether you went on a package holiday (ie a holiday with transport and accommodation included) or organised the holiday yourself.
Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

BUYING ABROAD

If you buy goods or a service from a trader abroad your consumer rights may be different to the UK, particularly if you buy from a trader based outside Europe.

Click here to read more about your rights and options when buying from a trader abroad.

Source: Citizens Advice 

VETS AND PETS

When you buy a pet, you have the same consumer rights as you would when buying any item or product. If you use a vet, you are buying a service. 

Finding a VET

This page tells you how to find a registered vet and what help is available for people on a low income.

Click here to find out more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Getting medicines for your pet

This page gives you advice on getting medicines for your pet and what rules vets must follow when providing prescriptions.

Click here to find out more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Complaining about misconduct or negligence

When you buy veterinary care for your pet you are buying a service. By law, a service should be carried out with reasonable care and skill.The standard of care is judged from what other vets would reasonably do under the same circumstances. Failure to meet this standard is professional negligence.

This link tells you what to do if you have a complaint against your vet for negligence or misconduct.
Click here for further information
Source: Citizens Advice

POST

If you think your post is lost

Click here for information on what you can do
Source: Citizens Advice

If your post has been tampered with

Contact Royal Mail if you think your post has been opened without your permission - they’ll investigate what’s happened.

Click here for more details
Source: Citizens Advice

Stop getting someone else's post

Click here for more details
Source: Citizens Advice

Stop getting junk mail

There are some actions you can take to stop getting junk mail.

Click here to find out more
Source: Citizens Advice

Complaints about Royal Main or a Post Office

You can claim compensation from Royal Mail if your post was lost, damaged or delayed.Either the sender or the receiver can claim for compensation - you might need to contact each other to arrange getting the proof you need to claim. It’s usually easier for the sender to claim.

Click here to more information on what action you can take
Source: Citizens Advice

Complaints about a courier company

You should complain to a courier company if the problem isn’t about something you’ve bought, for example if you sent something to a friend and it arrived broken.

Click here to access further information on what you can do
Source: Citizens Advice

Claiming compensation for lost, damaged or delayed post

You can claim compensation from Royal Mail if your post was lost, damaged or delayed.

Click here to accesstool will tell you how much money you might get, and how to claim.
Source: Citizens Advice

 

DRY CLEANERS

Dry cleaners are legally required to take ‘reasonable’ care of anything left with them. You can claim compensation if your belongings are damaged or lost while in their care.

Click here to find out more about your rights.
Source: Citizens Advice

3. GENERAL INFORMATION ON WHAT TO DO IF THINGS GO WRONG

Guides on how to get things put right.

Click on the links below to be taken to your desired section. 

Information on SCAMS is under 1. GENERAL INFORMATION ON YOUR RIGHTS

CANCELLING OR CHANGING YOUR MIND

Changing your mind about something you've bought
You don’t have an automatic right to get your money back if you just change your mind about something you’ve bought and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s the same no matter how expensive the item was - it’s really down to the seller whether they offer you anything. There are certain steps you can take, depending on where you bought the item.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Cancelling a gym membership
You’ll normally have to pay the full cost of your contract if you want to cancel a gym membership early. For example, if you cancel a one-year contract after 6 months, you'll usually have to pay for the remaining 6 months.There are a few circumstances when you might be able to cancel without paying a fee.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Cancelling a service you’ve arranged
If you want to cancel a service you’ve arranged online, over the phone or by mail-order (eg a photographer for a wedding or a caterer for a party), you may be able to do so in your cooling off period. Check below for specific information on cancelling building/ decorating contracts or a phone/TV/internet contract

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Cancelling building or decorating work
If you’ve arranged for a contractor or company to do building, decorating or landscaping work on your home but then change your mind, you may be able to cancel and get your money back.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Cancelling a phone, TV, internet or mobile contract
You should check the terms and conditions of your contract to find out what your cancellation rights are. You’ll probably have to pay a fee to cancel a contract if you've decided you don't want it anymore.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

If you were pressured into buying something you didn’t want
You have the legal right to a refund if you feel you were unfairly pressured into buying a product or service you didn’t want. You might also be able to get compensation for distress or inconvenience.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

Cancel something you bought on hire purchase
You can cancel and return something you’re paying off through hire purchase at any time, but you might owe money to the company you bought it from.

Click here for more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

RETURNING FAULTY GOODS

If something’s gone wrong with an item you’ve bought, you may be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. It doesn't matter whether you bought the item new or secondhand - you'll still have rights.

Click here to use a tool to find out your rights.
Source: Citizens Advice

IF A COMPANY GOES OUT OF BUSINESS

 

You might end up without the item you paid for or with unfinished work if a company or trader stops trading or goes out of business. There are several ways to try to get your money back or get the work done. 

Click here for more information.

Source: Citizens Advice

SOMETHING IS ADVERTISED AT THE WRONG PRICE

If something you want to buy is advertised at the wrong price, you may be able to buy it at the lower price.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

FAKE OR CONTERFEIT GOODS

You have the legal right to a refund if you’ve bought something that’s fake or counterfeit.

You can also report the seller to Trading Standards or report the seller for fraud. Trading Standards might take legal action against the seller, but they can’t help you to get your money back.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

SOMETHING YOU HAVE ORDERED IS NOT DELIVERED

If something you’ve ordered hasn't arrived, you should contact the seller to find out where it is. It’s the seller’s legal responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. They should chase the delivery company and let you know what’s happened to your item.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BOUGHT STOLEN GOODS

If you’ve bought something that’s been previously stolen, you shouldn’t get into trouble if you didn’t know it was stolen when you bought it.

Find out more information here
Source: Citizens Advice

CLAIMING COMPENSATION IF AN ITEM OR PRODUCT CAUSES DAMAGE

If an item causes damage to your property through no fault of your own, you may have a legal right to claim compensation (also known as claiming ‘damages’).

For example, you may be able to claim compensation if your washing machine starts leaking and damages your kitchen floor.

Click here to find out more information.
Source: Citizens Advice

IF YOU'RE NOT HAPPY WITH A SERVICE

If you’ve paid someone to do a service - eg give you a haircut, make a wedding cake or design a website - and it hasn’t been done with skill and care, you may be able to ask them to do it again or ask for a discount.

For more information click here.
Source: Citizens Advice

4. HELPFUL TOOLS

We have provided a variety of tools below to help you with your problem but if you still need help, you can click on FIND LOCAL AGENCIES WHO CAN HELP YOU for information about local agencies who may be able to assist you further.

Please click on the links below to be taken to your desired section.

SAMPLE LETTERS

Citizens Advice have provided several interactive sample letters which you can use in various consumer situations.

See the sample letters here

FACTSHEETS AND LEAFLETS

Age UK

 

FAQS

Unfortunately there are no FAQs for this section

NATIONAL HELPLINES

Citizens Advice
Advice by phone is available from Citizens Advice Bureaux 
Telephone: 0344 2451295

Citizens Advice Consumer helpline
Trained advisers can give you consumer advice over the phone.
Telephone 03454 04 05 06.

Action Fraud
ActionFraud is the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. You can contact them if you have been a victim of fraud.
Telephone: 0300 123 2040

European Consumer Centre UK ECC
If you have a complaint about goods or services you have bought in another European country, the European Consumer Centre may be able to help you if you have not been able to sort out your problem with the trader.
Telephone: 0845 040503

WEBSITES USED IN THIS SECTION

Advicenow

Advicenow is an independent, not-for-profit website, run by the charity Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education.
www.advicenow.org.uk

Age UK

Age UK is the country's largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life.
www.ageuk.org.uk

Citizens Advice

The Adviceguide website is the main public information service of Citizens Advice, providing people with round-the-clock access to CAB information on their rights - including benefits, housing and employment, and on debt, consumer and legal issues.
http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england.htm

Gov.uk

The websites of all government departments and many other agencies and public bodies 
www.gov.uk

Money Advice Service

The Money Advice Service helps people manage their money. They do this directly through our own free and impartial advice service. They also work in partnership with other organisations to help people make the most of their money. They are an independent service, set up by government.
www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk

Shelter

Shelter helps millions of people every year struggling with bad housing or homelessness – and they campaign to prevent it in the first place.
http://england.shelter.org.uk/home

Turn2Us

Turn2us helps people access the money available to them – through welfare benefits, grants and other financial help.
www.turn2us.org.uk

Disability Rights UK

Disability Rights UK is an organisation leading change, working to create a society where everyone with lived experience of disability or health conditions can participate equally as full citizens.
www.disabilityrightsuk.org