National Consumer Week 2016 in Spending

Keith Brown MSP – Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work - gives his advice on your consumer rights as part of National Consumer Week 

Has there ever been a time you’ve waited or saved to get your hands on something you really wanted only for it to be broken or stop working? Have you ever just shrugged your shoulders and written it off as a loss as it just seems too much hassle to follow it up? I certainly have.

Importantly, do you know where to turn  for advice? In my experience, it’s not always clear

Complaining can be daunting, especially if you have never done so before.  It can feel that the retailer is almost untouchable, and sometimes even when you’re 100% sure you’re in the right, there is that little niggle in the back of your mind that you’ve actually got it wrong.  The potential embarrassment factor kicks in and it stops you taking your complaint forward.  It’s always the easy option to sigh and think it was only £30; it wasn’t that expensive and I can always buy a replacement. We’ve all done it. But we shouldn’t have too.

You shouldn’t be out of pocket when the law sits firmly in your favour as the consumer. The Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, which came into force last year, gives you the power to speak up when goods aren’t of satisfactory quality, are not fit for purpose or aren’t as described.

Being confident enough to stand up for your rights when you aren’t being treated fairly means you won’t lose out. And if enough young people are confident enough to do that, you can drive up standards and make a difference for the future. You can be consumers who no longer accept when things simply aren’t good enough or settle for something ‘that’ll do’.

 o encourage people to raise their voices, this November, National Consumer Week 2016 is focusing on the electrical goods sector and what to do when things go wrong. The theme covers everything from tablets to hair straighteners to the latest album you have downloaded and points out what you need to know if your purchase isn’t up to standard.  It draws out the key elements of the CRA and expels the myth of the retailer versus manufacturer debate – under the CRA, when things go wrong, it’s the retailer not the manufacturer who has to put them right for you.  We’ve set out what your rights are into an easy to use guide, that provided links if you require further assistance on the Consumer Rights page.    

Remember, the key to success is simple: 

  • Know your rights;
  • Don’t be afraid to exercise them; and
  • Be confident knowing you are armed with the facts.

By sharing your experience with others, it will begin to send a strong message that in Scotland, we will accept nothing short of excellence.

Check out more information on how to make a customer complaint and how to stay safe shopping online.

Plus follow everything happening on National Consumer Week on Twitter and be #switchedon