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Gill Heath
Cllr Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities and the Environment

Get Switched On to consumer rights when buying electrical goods

Staffordshire people are being urged to check their consumer rights when buying electrical goods as part of a national week-long campaign.

The county council’s trading standards team is backing the National Consumer Week ‘Switched On’ campaign which highlights what people should consider when buying electrical goods and also to look out for counterfeit goods. The campaign focuses on any electrical item, either plugged in to the mains or battery powered.

Anyone can ask for a refund, repair or replacement if something goes wrong with an electrical item. If an item is unsafe when it is bought, becomes unsafe or breaks after it has been used, by law the retailer has to give a full refund within 30 days of sale, repair it or replace it.

If another fault happens, or the repair or replacement doesn’t solve the problem, the retailer has to accept the item back and give a full refund within six months of the repair or replacement. The retailer can also allow the customer to choose to keep the item, and give them some of their money back. Customers should always speak to the retailer, not the manufacturer – even if they say it’s not their fault. It is the retailer’s responsibility to put things right, including if an item is damaged during delivery or installation.

People are also being reminded of the dangers of counterfeit electrical goods and to always but from a reputable retailer. Counterfeit electrical goods can be a fire risk and pose dangers because they are not safety tested.

Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:

Many people will be buying electrical goods over the next few weeks in the run-up to Christmas, either in store or online and we want people to be aware of their consumer rights and shop with confidence. Consumer laws also protect retailers and allow them to trade responsibly. We would also like to remind people of the dangers of counterfeit electrical goods which can be lethal. Most counterfeit electrical goods are sold online, so people should be vigilant and check the website they’re buying from. It should always contain a postal address for the business and we’d advise avoiding sites where payment is made through money transfer services.”

People’s rights may be different if they bought the item before 1 October 2015, when the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force. More information can be found at: http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk

National Consumer Week runs until this Friday, December 2.