A consumer is a person, organisation or business that buys goods and services. A good consumer is:
Ω Aware of the laws that protect consumers.
Ω Able to make a complaint in the event that they are not happy.
There are two Acts that protect the consumer in the event that they unhappy with their purchases.
Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980
(i) Merchantable quality
It is implied that all goods for sale must be of merchantable quality that is fit for their normal use.
(ii) Fit for purpose
If the buyer indicates to the seller a particular use for the goods requested, then the buyer must be able to rely on the seller's knowledge and the goods received must be for the stated purpose.
(iii) Sale by description
If the goods are sold by description, then there is an implied condition that the items purchased must accurately correspond to the description.
(iv) Sale by sample
If the goods are sold by sample, there is an implied condition that the bulk quantity of the goods must correspond to the sample.
For the purposes of the Act services are treated similarly to goods. The following implied terms exist in relation to services offered:
Ω That the supplier has the appropriate qualification and skill required to provide the service.
Ω That the service will be provided with due care and attention.
Ω That the materials used will be of merchantable quality.
3. Retailer is responsible
Ω The responsibility for dealing with a complaint from a customer must be dealt with by the retailer.
Ω If the customer's complaint is valid, a credit note is not an adequate remedy unless the customer is willing to accept it.
Ω A consumer is entitled to a refund, a replacement or a repair in the event of the goods being faulty.
Ω The consumer must respond promptly when they have purchased goods/services that they have a problem with under the Act.
Ω The notices below may no longer be displayed in shops:
4. Enforcement of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980
The National Consumer Agency (NCA) is responsible for monitoring the enforcement of the Act and can prosecute sellers who deny consumers their rights.
Consumer Protection Act 2007
The Act provides practices are banned if they meet two conditions:
1.They are unfair, misleading or aggressive.
2.They are likely to distort the consumer's choice.
All descriptions, notice and signs, prices and advertisements must meet the two conditions.