Black Friday - advice for consumers
Lewis Shand Smith, Chief Ombudsman at Ombudsman Services, said:
“Black Friday provides a great opportunity to grab a bargain, treat yourself, or maybe even get some Christmas shopping out of the way, but people need to know what they can do if one of their purchases turns out to be faulty.
“With the new Consumer Rights Act, consumers are better protected than ever before, but awareness of the new law is low – a third of people haven’t even heard of it1. The new rules on refunds and online purchases help to remove blurred lines, which in the past prevented customers from receiving fair service.
“If you are let down by a retailer, you have the right to complain. If you’ve spoken with the retailer and your complaint remains unresolved after a reasonable amount of time you can take your problem to the consumer ombudsman – a free and easy alternative to a small claims court. It takes just 10 minutes to complete an online form at www.consumer-ombudsman.org”
If you’ve experienced a problem with a retailer…
- Make sure you complain – the company can’t fix the problem if it doesn’t know about it
- Speak to the retailer about your issue – they may be able to fix the problem quickly and easily
- It can be frustrating but keep your anger in check – being assertive rather than aggressive is more likely to get you the solution you want
- Don’t worry about making a fuss and don’t be embarrassed – it’s your right to complain
- Admit your part in the problem if you had any fault
- If you’ve spoken to the retailer and the complaint remains unresolved after eight weeks, you can approach the Consumer Ombudsman, who will look into your dispute
- If the company is at fault, the ombudsman will aim to return you to the position you would have been in had the issue not occurred
1 According to research from Citizens Advice and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), 34% of people haven’t heard of the new Consumer Rights Act (Which?, 2015).