Research and campaigns

National Consumer Week 2020

What are my rights?

  • You normally have up to 14 days after receiving your goods to change your mind and get a full refund. You then have a further 14 days to send the item back.
  • If there is a problem with your item within the first 30 days of delivery, you could get a refund, replacement or repair.
  • If there’s a problem with your item in the first 6 months, you’re normally entitled to a repair or replacement, or if this isn’t possible a full refund.
  • After 6 months, you may be able to get a part refund, repair or replacement, but you need to prove that you didn’t cause the fault.
  • It’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. If you haven’t received your purchase you can ask for a redelivery or in some cases a refund.

Your rights can be different if you’re buying online from an individual seller, where the principles of “buyer beware” applies.

  • Goods must be as described to you by the seller, but the seller doesn’t have to disclose any faults.
  • The seller can’t misrepresent the item – for example claiming something used is brand new.

What can I do if I have a problem?

  • Contact the seller to try to resolve the issue. Check if they have an official complaints procedure, and keep a copy of anything you send them.
  • If the seller is part of a trade association and you think they’ve broken the rules, the trade association may be able to help you.
  • You might be able to get your money back if you paid by card or PayPal. Send your card provider or PayPal a copy of your complaint letter to the company and let them know what response you’ve had.
  • Some traders belong to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, which offers a way to solve your problem without going to court. Until 2021 you can use the EU Online Dispute Resolution Platform, which is an online version of ADR.
  • You can make a “small claim” to the court if your problem hasn’t been resolved.

How can I shop safely?

Shopping online can be a great way to buy things you need, but it’s important to make sure you’re doing it safely. There are a few easy steps you can take to help protect yourself from things going wrong:

  • Before you buy anything check the company or website you’re using:
  1. Read the reviews from different websites.
  2. Search for the company’s details on This will tell you if they are a registered company or not.
    Look at their terms and conditions.
  • Pay by debit or credit card or PayPal. This gives you extra protection if things go wrong.
  • Be wary of unofficial site offering big discounts; make sure you’re buying from the retailer’s official website. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Scammers may appear like a trusted business, using links in ads or emails to direct you to a fake website. Don’t click on any links you don’t trust.
  • Make your online shopping accounts secure. Use a strong password for your email accounts that you don’t use anywhere else.

Where can I get help?

For more information and advice on shopping online the have a look at the Citizens Advice National Consumer Week page.

Or you can contact the consumer service helpline on Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Phone: 0808 223 1133
Textphone: 18001 0808223 1133

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