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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Buying goods: consumer rights and the law

​Is there a contract?

When you buy goods you and the trader are entering into a legal contract.

If you have a complaint later on, it is the seller of the goods, not the manufacturer who must sort it out. Your contract is with the trader so they are responsible.

What does the law say about goods I buy?

The law says that goods you buy:

  • must be of a satisfactory quality
  • must not be damaged or defective unless the person selling points out the fault or it would have been reasonable to see the fault during an examination before buying the goods
  • must be fit for the purpose for which the seller knows you are buying them
  • must be as they are described by the seller, or on the package or any notice or advertisement

Do I have any additional rights if I bought goods over the internet, from a catalogue or over the phone rather than in a shop face-to-face?

You may have additional rights under the Distance Selling (Jersey) Law 2007.

Shopping online

What if the goods are in a sale or shop “soiled”?

You have the same rights when you buy something in a sale or when you buy ‘seconds’ or ‘shop soiled’ goods.

Goods can be sold with a defect provided they were obvious or the defects were pointed out to you before the sale.

What if I just don’t want the goods?

If an item is of satisfactory quality and is described correctly, retailers are under no legal obligation to exchange it, give you a refund or a credit note.

The law does not give you any rights if it is you that have changed your mind or made the wrong choices. This is why it is especially important to check the shop’s returns policy before you buy, and always keep the receipt.

Do I have statutory rights if I buy from a private seller?

You have fewer rights when buying from a private individual and not a business. Your statutory rights are:

  • the seller must own the goods they are selling
  • the goods must be as described
  • the seller should also disclose all defects in the goods that they are aware of which may render the goods not of satisfactory quality

Keep a copy of any advert describing the goods, just in case. This may include cutting out the advert in the paper or printing the description you saw on a website.

You could also take someone with you to act as a witness to any conversations. This is always sensible advice when meeting strangers.

What rights do I have if I am buying second hand goods from a shop?

You have the same rights as when buying new goods. However, the seller is not liable for reasonable wear and tear.

In addition, the price and description of the item has to be taken into account when assessing whether the goods are of satisfactory quality.

Need more help or advice?

Contact our Consumer Advice Service for free confidential advice.

Consumer Advice Service

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