Buying for baby – what are my rights?

Expert answers to consumer shopping queries relating to buying baby goods like pushchairs, car seats, sterilisers,cots and other goods.

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Alison Alexander helps you get the best deal, and problem-solves some common baby buy queries

Q – Can I return my pushchair just because I’ve changed my mind?

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A – It depends what the conditions of sale were. These are usually identified either on the receipt, or in the confirmation email you should have if you bought it online. Most online retailers offer a refund if the pushchair is returned (by you), in the correct packaging and unused, within seven days of delivery, and many stores offer a refund within 28 days. Check the terms and conditions, and always keep receipts as proof of purchase.

Q – My steriliser is faulty. Should I complain to the manufacturer or to the shop?

A – Try taking it back to the shop where you purchased it first – they should be able to repair or replace it for you. If a repair or replacement is not possible because an item has been discontinued, for instance, then you would be entitled to claim a partial or full refund. You will need proof of purchase, which is valid for up to six years for a fault.

Q – I ordered my pushchair when I was pregnant, and have only just unpacked it. It’s faulty, but the shop won’t refund me because it’s over the 28-day limit. What can I do?

A – I would always recommend that you unpack and check any items ordered in advance to that you’re not caught out. Try writing to the company explaining that you were pregnant when you bought the pushchair, and so couldn’t test it and, regrettably, it’s faulty and you would like a refund. Technically, the company is only required to offer free repair or replacement, but it’s worth a try!

Q – Is it safe to order baby goods from auction sites like eBay? Are there any pitfalls?

A – Sites like eBay can be a good source of cheap, new and second-hand baby gear, but there are a few rules to follow if you want to make sure you get what you bargained for. Always check a seller’s feedback and make sure that you know the make, model and age of what you’re bidding for. Try to use a payment method that offers the most protection – usually a credit card.

Q – The wheel’s come off my buggy. The shop won’t give me a refund and has offered to repair the fault or replace the buggy, but I don’t want the same model. Who’s right?

A – If your buggy develops a fault outside of the refund terms of your agreement (typically 28 days) then you’re not entitled to a refund. The shop can offer to replace or repair the pushchair, and it should offer a replacement while yours is being repaired. You have up to six years to ask for repair or replacement of goods, providing it is reasonable for them to have lasted this long and are not faulty due to wear and tear.

TIP BOX

  • Shop around for the best price. Goods bought online must fit the description given and be fit for purpose.
  • Don’t assume an internet company is based in the UK just because its web address has ‘uk’ in it. Check out the physical address and number.
  • Look for websites that have a secure way of paying. These show a padlock at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in the payment details.
  • Use retailers and services you know, or ones that have been personally recommended.

WHEN IS USING A CREDIT CARD SAFER?

If the goods or services you are buying cost over £100 and you pay by credit card, you may be protected by the Consumer Credit Act. This states that the credit card company is equally liable for any defects.

AND REMEMBER

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  • ALWAYS print out a copy of your order and a copy of the company’s acknowledgement.
  • ALWAYS check your bank statements after buying online.
  • For more info and advice on consumer queries, and for template complaint letters, visit CONSUMER DIRECT

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