UK consumers can enjoy protection under various different laws when they buy goods, services and even digital content. The pages in this section will explain your rights in more detail.

Buying goods

Buying a service

Shopping online



Did you know?...

  • When you purchase something from a person or company, the law dictates that you have entered into a contract. This may sound very formal but this is not always the case in practice. You may not have signed a contract or even been given a receipt but even something as simple as buying a newspaper from the local shop is considered to be forming a contract. 
  • You are considered to be a consumer if you are a private individual purchasing goods or services for your own private use. 
  • Consumer laws use the term 'trader' frequently. This is the legal term used to describe a business. These laws do not usually offer the same protections for items purchased from private individuals.
  • It is helpful to keep copies of all doscuments, in case an issue arises with the product or service. 
  • If an issue does arise with the product or service, or you wish to return it, it is best to contact the company as soon as you realise there is a problem or to let them know you have changed your mind, as there may be time limits to do so. 
  • We recommend corresponding with the business via email or letter, as if the problem escalates it will help to have the thread of communication documented. If you have a phone conversation, request confirmation of what is agreed in writing. 
  • We can assist if you need help asserting your rights against a company based overseas. If you are experiencing problems with a company based in the UK, the Citizens Advice Consumer Service may be able to assist.