There are certain laws that exist to make sure that traders deal fairly with consumers. They exist to protect the consumer, but businesses also benefit because these laws:
• outlaw disreputable business practices
• encourage fair competition between businesses
• offer businesses better protection from anti-competitive practices.
If a business does not abide by these laws, awards of damages can be made against them, hefty fines can be levied and/or key personnel could face imprisonment if the infraction warrants it.
One of these laws is the Sale of Goods Act 2002. Under the Sale of Goods Act 2002:
• Goods must be of satisfactory quality, be safe and free from defect.
• Goods must be as described. If the label states 100 per cent cotton, then it should not be made of polyester.
• Goods must befit for their purpose. They should work for a reasonable amount of time.
Before buying goods or services, do your research and get as much information as possible about the product or service and compare prices.
Stores set their own policies. Ask what they are before you purchase the product since there is no law that says the store policy must be displayed. Some stores have their policies printed on the receipts or posted on a sign near the cash register.
Returns, refunds and expiry dates on gift cards/certificates are usually always determined by the store’s policy unless the product you purchased was faulty.
When buying gift cards and certificates, check to see if there is an expiry date and the terms and conditions of use. If the gift card or certificate is lost or expired, the store is not obligated to replace it.
Always keep your receipts. It fares better for you in case you have to return the product for an exchange or because it is defective. When you are trying to resolve an issue, documentation is crucial.
Stores do not have to give a refund, except in cases where the product is faulty or defective. Under the law, you are entitled to a full refund if the product you buy is defective. The store should not renege on a refund if you do not have the original packaging. Some stores will offer a repair or a replacement if the product is faulty.
However, the law states that you are entitled to your money back. It is up to you to decide if you want a repair or replacement. Most products and services come with warranties. Before buying ask what the warranty terms and conditions are.
For more information, visit the Consumer Affairs web-site: www.ca.gov.bm and follow us on facebook.