Consumer Rights

If you have a complaint and are struggling to resolve it, use OnRecord to get things sorted. It’s better than notes or a diary. OnRecord makes it easy to gather, secure and organise the evidence to produce a clear timeline and calendar of events with all the information combined chronologically. Your records can easily be searched, sorted and downloaded to prepare reports and statements. You can give confidential access to your records to anyone you need to consult or who you turn to for help.

Here’s what Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert says about complaining:

“Taking some time to plan your case now is likely to save time and hassle later.

Before you start, go though a few simple dos and don’ts to help make your complaint as easy as possible.

DO act as soon as possible

DON’T carry on using it

DO keep a diary and log of extra costs

DON’T lose paperwork or evidence

DO say you’re ‘doing it under protest’ if made to spend

With regard to the diary and log here’s his further advice:

“Note down what went wrong, who you spoke to and when and what you agreed, if anything. This is more important if your original agreement was made verbally, as your complaint will be harder to prove.

Also record any extra costs you’ve had to pay, such as phone calls or replacing damaged items, so you can ask for the cash back. Ask to be reimbursed for additional costs. With holidays or fun activities, it’s possible to get extra cash for inconvenience or distress.”

In relation to evidence he says:

“Stash pics and other evidence to back up your case, such as receipts or terms and conditions. Receipts are not essential to have (or give, although nearly all stores do), but proof of purchase usually is, such as a cheque book stub, bank statement or credit card statement. Don’t post the originals to sellers, because you’ll need a back-up.”

OnRecord is ideally suited to help you follow this guidance. The app allows you to upload a copy of all the information and records to our secure database where it forms part of the collected and stored evidence and can easily be sorted, analysed and confidentially shared with chosen individuals or organisations. But do keep all original documents and materials safe as well in case it goes to Court.

Record everything you did to try to move the complaint forward and what happened e.g. phone calls, letters or emails you wrote, including what was said and agreed, if anything, and who you spoke/wrote to. This is particularly important if you’re being fobbed off or messed about, in which case describe what was said and the impression you had. Upload any evidence, if it exists, backdating it if necessary, as you may end up complaining about how your complaint was handled, in addition to the original complaint.

Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Act stands alongside Regulations to create a greatly simplified body of consumer law. Taken together, they set out the rules which govern how consumers buy and businesses sell in the UK.

The Act came into force on 1 October 2015 making the law clearer and easier to understand, to help consumers make better choices when buying and save time and money. When problems arise, disputes can be sorted out more quickly and cheaply. The Act provides for Alternative Dispute Resolution through an Ombudsman, offering a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than the courts. The changes are relevant to all consumers and every business which sells directly to them.

The Consumer Rights Act sets out:

  • what should happen when goods are faulty;
  • what should happen when digital content is faulty;
  • how services should match up to what has been agreed and what should happen when they do not, or when they are not provided with reasonable care and skill;
  • unfair terms in a contract;
  • what happens when a business is acting in a way which isn’t competitive;
  • written notice for routine inspections by public enforcers, such as Trading Standards; and
  • greater flexibility for public enforcers, such as Trading Standards, to respond to breaches of consumer law, such as seeking redress for consumers who have suffered harm.

Most of these changes were important updates to existing laws. But two new areas of law were also introduced.

  • For the first time rights on digital content have been set out. The Act gives consumers a clear right to the repair or replacement of faulty digital content, such as online film and games, music downloads and e-books.
  • There are now also new, clear rules for what should happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill or as agreed. For example, the business must provide what was agreed with the customer or, if this is not practical, must give some money back.

Alternative Dispute Resolution is now available to all businesses to help when a dispute with a consumer cannot be settled directly. A business which is involved in a dispute will now need to make the consumer aware of a relevant certified Alternative Dispute Resolution provider. The business should also let the consumer know whether or not they are prepared to use the Alternative Dispute Resolution provider to deal with the dispute. However, a business does not have to use Alternative Dispute Resolution unless it operates in a sector where existing legislation makes it mandatory (for example, financial services).

The new laws mean you should be able to learn much more easily what your rights entitle you to and what they don’t. You should bear in mind your rights when you research purchases and when you decide between providers. You should be clear where to go for more information in advance of a purchase and what to do if a problem arises.

There are many helpful resources to use when problems arise but the most obvious are:

  • Citizens Advice who provide free advice. They also have a very useful website giving clear advice and guidance about all consumer matters or
  • Solicitors ( but you won’t get legal aid). If you would prefer to see a lawyer check out beforehand about their charges.

Either of these options is suitable, particularly if you would welcome face to face help and there is a local office to visit.

Online resources include:

  • Money Saving Expert, which is an invaluable, free source of guidance and advice.
  • Resolver, a free service who help with complaints through the use of their app.
  • Money Advice Service, who provide free advice but only if it’s a money problem.

Ombudsman: If you have exhausted other channels, you may be able to make a complaint to an ombudsman who will investigate complaints about organisations for free and may resolve your complaint without going to court. There are different ombudsmen for different industries.

You can use the Ombudsman Association to find the right ombudsman for your complaint.