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Campaign launched to boost awareness of consumer rights

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A new drive to help consumers understand their rights has been launched by the government.

It follows on from a survey which found that a third of consumers said they have complained to a store about goods, asked for a refund or asked for an exchange more than three times in the past three years.

The ‘Know Your Consumer Rights’ campaign centres on three key legal rights: that goods must fit the description given; that they must be of satisfactory quality; and that they must be suitable for purpose.

The campaign also aims to improve consumer knowledge in other areas.

If, for example, goods are faulty, then it is the retailer’s responsibility not the manufacturer’s.

A trader visiting someone’s home must allow customers a cooling off period of seven days during which an order can be cancelled without any reason and a full refund made.

Anyone buying goods via the internet is likewise entitled to a cooling-off period during which an order can be cancelled without any reason and a full refund made.

Kevin Brennan, the consumer Minister, said: “Robust protections are in place to support consumers. But we want to see a dramatic improvement in awareness of those protections and rights.

“Knowledgeable, confident consumers are much more likely to get a fair deal, save money and get the right result when things go wrong. This is especially important during the current economic climate, when every penny is even more precious than usual.”

Vivienne Dews, who is executive director at the Office of Fair Trading, added: “When people are aware of their rights and businesses respect their obligations, consumers can shop with confidence, which is good for them and good for business.”