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Your money rights

Your money rightsFind out about the legal rights that can help you avoid losing out.

Returning goods

If you buy something online, the law gives you the right to send it back within seven days and get your money back.

There are some exceptions: you can't return custom-made goods, or things like flowers that will go off quickly. You will have to inform the seller in writing that you want to cancel, and if the goods weren't faulty then you might have to pay for the postage to return the item yourself.

Wherever you buy, you have the right to return goods if they are faulty. In the first six months after you buy, it's up to the shop to show that they weren't faulty when you bought them - after that, you need to be able to show that you didn't cause the problem yourself. You have six years to complain after you buy something - but the longer you leave it, the harder it is to prove there was a problem with the goods to begin with.

Your rights will be weaker if you buy second-hand goods.

Credit cards

For payments between £100 and £30,000, paying by credit card gives you extra protection: the credit card company takes on the same responsibilities as the company you are actually buying from. That means that if the company goes out of business, you'll still be able to claim for repairs or replacements if the goods are faulty. This doesn't apply to debit cards - only credit cards.

However, credit cards have their own risks: if you don't pay the balance off straight away, the interest can quickly add up.

Changing contracts

People often don't realize that the cost of a mobile phone or other contract can go up before the contract period expires. If it's mentioned in the contract that the provider can increase the cost, then this is completely legal. However, you do have certain rights if the changes cause you "material detriment", which means they will leave you worse off:

  • The provider must tell you about the changes a month in advance.
  • The provider must let you cancel the contract without paying cancellation fees.

However, not all price rises are covered by this rule: for example, if the rise is just to match inflation then the company might be able to argue that you haven't really lost out.