Your legal rights in the January sales

Retail is an unrelenting business and no sooner had traders and their staff breathed a sigh of relief on Christmas Eve, then the signs were going up for the Boxing Day bargains.
Shopper carrying shopping bags. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA WireShopper carrying shopping bags. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Shopper carrying shopping bags. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

I’m always tempted by the red letters shouting SALE and have acquired two pairs of spotted socks which were £8.50 a pair down to a fiver. Yes I went mad.

But what consumer rights do we have when we buy sale goods? And how come sofa companies always seems to have a sale on all year round?

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In law, a sale must be genuine, which means the goods must have been offered for sale for at least 28 consecutive days at a higher price and the original price must be displayed along with the reduced one.

Also, sale goods should not be offered for sale at the reduced price for longer than they were offered for sale at the original price, unless there is good reason such as they are the “end of the line”, which made me think those sofas must be in some kind of sale rota.

Your legal rights in a sale promotion are broadly similar to a normal sale of goods situation in that you have a right to return faulty goods and ask for a full refund of what you paid.

Under The Consumer Rights Act an item is faulty if it’s not as described, or not fit for purpose or not of satisfactory quality.

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However, you may NOT claim a refund if you were informed at the time of sale that the item had a fault - after all sometimes that is the reason for it being reduced in price.

What is sometimes different in a sale is that the trader may place restrictions on returning non-faulty items. There is no legal right to simply change your mind about something and be able to return non faulty goods, though some traders as a matter of good will allow a period of 28 days (or sometimes longer) in normal circumstances.

In a sale this discretionary entitlement may be restricted, so it’s always worth checking before you buy.

As for those sofas, well you can expect them to last longer than my socks; and remember a claim for faulty goods can be brought up to six years after purchase.

So good luck to readers out to “spot” a bargain.