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Accessible legal tips, know-how and news for anyone with a complaint or legal issue from Stephen Gold, author of The Return of Breaking Law, the book

Sunday 17 December 2017

Essential Laws for the Festive Season. Ignore At Your Peril!

Extend the 30 Days If the goods you purchase as a consumer are below legal standard, you are at your legal strongest by rejecting them within 30 days of delivery (less if they are perishable). It's known by the law and lawyers (whether or not they are wearing their wigs) as 'short-term' rejection. But the trader who is selling them can agree to extend the 30 days. Make an extension a condition of purchase. 'I'll buy this parrot but only if you agree to extend my right of short-term rejection under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 to two months (you can ask for longer, if you want) and write on the till receipt that this has been agreed. And I don't care if I am holding up the queue.' 

Use Credit Card By paying with your credit card on a purchase which has a cash price of more than £100 and up to £30,000 you may get extra protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This makes the credit card company equally responsible with the seller for any breach of contract or misrepresentation. Useful if the seller goes out of business or is especially difficult. You still get the protection if you paid with a mixture of cash and credit card so long as the cash price exceeded £100. And that's £100 on the particular goods you are moaning about rather than the total of your entire shopping from that trader. But beware. Credit card companies are starting to refuse to accept liability where there has been in intermediary which has processed the transaction. Whether or not they are legal justified will depend on the arrangement with the intermediary but transactions through Amazon Marketplace or Pay Pal will probably mean that section 75 does not apply.

Avoid Duff Present Embarrassment It's embarrassing for the relative or friend (or former friend!) to whom you have gifted the purchase to come back to you and tell you that the present has fallen to pieces and was rubbish. The seller may inform them that can take  running jump because they weren't the buyer and so they cannot complain of a breach of contract. Put them in the position of being able to complain directly to the seller without having to breathe a word to you. Get the seller to write on the till receipt (if it's long enough, otherwise continue on the back): 'This purchase is for X and we agree that she shall be entitled to enforce all terms for their sale as the third party.' If the seller won't agree before you say you are buying, tell them you will have a go at the shop next door and don't worry if you held up the queue. Alternatively. transfer in writing your rights under the contract to the person to whom you gifted the purchase and tell the seller in writing that you have done so.  Of course, as purchaser, you could always take the damned thing back yourself!

Be strong on No-Receipt If the seller has agreed to a refund or credit note within a specified period but makes production of the receipt an essential condition of going along with this then you've had  it should you have lost the receipt - unless you get the seller on a very good day or are dating the manageress. But this does not apply where the goods are below legal standard although it is only reasonable that you should be able to satisfy the seller that you bought the goods from them and not one of their rivals. If no receipt you may have some other proof like a credit card statement. Nothing whatsoever available? Then the conversation may go like this.
'Do you accept I am a truthful person?'
'Well, I as a truthful am  personal telling you that I purchased this item (a) from you; (b) when I say I did; and (c) for the price marked on it.'
'Sorry, sir, but our policy is that we must see the receipt.'
'Which means I have to sue you and claim the price, interest, court fees and my car park expenses for today and you will have no defence. There is no reason why the judge should not accept my word. What a complete waste of time.'
'I'll just get the manager.'

Don't be sneezed at  I am sick and tired of catching the germs of other shoppers as they sneeze in my face. So should you be. but for sneezing in your face, not mine. You may be entitled to compensation. Really. See http://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/sneezing%20claims

Buy a copy of my book Breaking Law and do yourself a favour and me a favour. Make a nice Christmas present and the pages won't fall out. There's loads of law in it and it's in plain English. And jokes. And my time with the Krays. And template letters and court documents. And template pre-nuptial, cohabitation and no-sex (what?!) agreements. It sounds good. I think I'll get myself a copy.

Compliments of the Season and a Happy New Year