Got less than you bargained for?

December 31, 2022

Sometimes things just don’t go to plan. However much you’ve checked and double checked. Here’s what to do if something you’ve bought is broken, damaged, unsafe or not what you expected.

Know your rights

If something’s gone wrong with an item you’ve bought, you might be entitled to a refund, repair or replacement. It doesn’t matter whether you bought the item new or secondhand — you’ll still have rights.

You’ll have legal rights if the item you bought is:

  • broken or damaged (‘not of satisfactory quality’)
  • unusable (‘not fit for purpose’)
  • not what was advertised or doesn’t match the seller’s description

You won’t have any legal rights if either:

  • it was damaged by wear and tear, an accident or misuse
  • you knew about the fault before you bought the item

You’ll also have the legal right to a refund if you’ve bought something that’s fake or counterfeit. You can check your rights and find out what to do on our website.

If your delivery didn’t arrive

If you bought something from a business to be delivered, it’s the seller’s responsibility to make sure the item is delivered to you. If the seller used a courier, they should chase the courier to find out what happened to your order. It’s not your responsibility.

Check the delivery address you gave the seller. Then contact them and ask where your order is. If the seller claims they’ve delivered it or don’t know where it is, you can ask for a redelivery. You might be able to get a refund in some circumstances.

If you still want your order, you can ask the seller to deliver the item again. You can cancel your order and get your money back if you didn’t get the item within 30 days or on the date you agreed with the seller.

Making a complaint

Before contacting the seller, check if they have an official complaints procedure. You can usually find a seller’s complaints procedure on their website — make sure you follow it when you complain. It’s best to email or write to the seller. Our template letter can help. Make sure you keep a copy of anything you send, in case you need to check it later.

Getting your money back

If you can’t contact the trader or seller, or they won’t help, you might be able to get your money back if you paid by card or PayPal. You can send your card provider or PayPal a copy of your complaint letter to the company and let them know what response you’ve had. Our advice can help.

If you need more advice or help, visit our consumer advice pages for more support. You can also contact our consumer service on 0808 223 1133 (Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm).