With the increased volume of sales over Christmas, and the January sales ongoing, now is an appropriate time for an update on consumer rights.

These rights became a little stronger at the end of 2022 when the Consumer Rights Act 2022 came into force. In relation to redress for faulty goods, for example, consumers now have the option of simply cancelling a faulty purchase within 30 days for a full refund.

In all cases, what you buy must be as described to you, fit for the intended purpose and be of satisfactory quality.

Kevin O’Brien of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, said it was a very positive development for consumers with two new pieces of legislation, he said the Consumer Rights Act is very broad and is “an uplifting of consumer protection across a whole host of areas”, including improved redress. He said that if an item is broken within 30 days of being bought, if it is faulty, “you should get an immediate refund, no questions asked.

Under the new Act, consumers will be entitled to seek a price reduction on faulty goods and flawed services instead of just exchange, refund or repair. There are also new protections in relation to digital content and digital services, including the right to a full refund, exchange or repair when a good or service is not as described or not fit for purpose.

Businesses will have to set out clearly a description of the goods or services being provided, the total price of the item and the cost of delivery. The posting of fake reviews or misleading online search rankings is also now prohibited.

You do have to prove that the item was bought in a particular shop but remember that this doesn’t mean you need the receipt. If you’ve lost that little scrap of paper and you paid for the item with a card, your card statement will do the job just as well, and the retailer must accept this as proof of purchase.

Any advertised price reduction will have to include the previous price of the product. In addition, the product must have been available at that earlier price during the preceding 30 days.

NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website www.nfg.ie, or email info@nfg.ie.