Understanding Consumer Rights and Protection in the UK

Learn about your rights as a consumer and how to protect yourself in the UK.

May 24, 2023
Understanding Consumer Rights and Protection in the UK hero
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Living in the UK comes with certain rights and protections, including those as a consumer. While regulations and legislation might change from time to time, it is important to understand them to be able to make informed decisions and know your rights. Knowing your consumer rights can help protect your finances and safeguard against being taken advantage of.

What Are Consumer Rights?

In the UK, consumer rights refer to the laws protecting consumers from unfair trading, fraud, ensuring fairness in contract terms, reducing the risk of product hazards, and protecting access to information. These rights have been enshrined in various European Union (EU) directives, which the UK had to adopt to be part of the EU.

The Overseas Marketing Act 1997 (OMA) is a set of UK laws protecting consumers against misrepresentation in the advertising and promotion of certain goods and services. The OMA applies to advertising in any medium, from leaflets to the internet. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media and provides information about how to make a complaint if you feel you have been misled by an ad.

The Equality Act 2010 protects consumers from discrimination in most areas of public life, including services and goods. This means consumers have the right to access goods and services without discrimination based on things such as age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or disability.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) outlines UK consumers' rights to clear information and clear pricing. It also outlines consumers' rights to redress and reimbursement if goods are not of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, or as described. Your rights under this Act may be enforced in the small claims court should you need to take further action.

What Does Consumer Protection Mean?

Consumer protection refers to laws and regulations that are designed to prevent businesses from engaging in unfair or deceptive practices such as false advertising, price manipulation, and unfair contract terms.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) provides certain rights and protections to consumers, including the right to clear information and clear pricing, and the right to redress. It also provides information on the steps you can take if you are not happy with the product or service that you have purchased, including taking a dispute to the small claims court.

The Financial Ombudsman Service provides an independent service to help resolve complaints about products or services from authorised financial services firms. This includes banks, insurance companies, and investment firms. Additionally, The Consumer Ombudsman is an independent service that acts as an intermediary between consumers and businesses that sell them goods and services.

What Are My Consumer Rights When Shopping Online?

UK consumers have the right to clear and accurate information and to be able to shop with confidence when buying online, in store, over the phone, or by mail order.

You have the right to:

  • Receive an item that is of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and as described.
  • Have the item delivered within a reasonable time.
  • Receive a refund, repair, or replacement if the item you have purchased is not as described, is not of satisfactory quality, or is not fit for purpose.
  • Return any goods within 14 days of purchase and receive a full refund.

It is important to note that there are some items which cannot be returned, including items which can quickly perish or become unusable, such as fresh food or flowers.

What Is the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008?

The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPRs) protects consumers from being treated unfairly or misled when buying goods or services. It prevents traders from using practices such as:

  • Making false claims or misleading statements.
  • Not giving enough information to make an informed decision.
  • Selling goods or services not fit for their intended use.

The CPRs also makes it illegal for traders to use aggressive selling tactics such as putting pressure on consumers to make a purchase.

What Do I Do if a Business Breaches My Rights?

If you believe a business has breached your rights, you can make a complaint to the relevant regulator or to Trading Standards. This could involve making a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority if you have seen a misleading advert, or to the Financial Ombudsman Service if you are unhappy with the terms of a financial service you have purchased.

If you are unable to resolve the issue with the relevant regulator, you can take legal action by taking the case to the small claims court. This is done by completing the relevant form online and paying the associated fee.


Knowing your consumer rights is important in order to protect yourself when purchasing goods and services. By making sure you know where to go for help and what rights you have, you can ensure that you are treated fairly when buying from businesses. Additionally, by making sure you are aware of the regulations in place and what to do if a business breaches them, you can make sure that you are not taken advantage of or misled.

Foxi - Budget Planner & Tracker


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Disclaimer: The content provided in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as financial advice. The information presented is based on general principles and may not be applicable to your specific financial situation. While efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the reliability, suitability, or availability of the content. Any reliance you place on the information provided is strictly at your own risk. Before making any financial decisions or implementing any strategies, it is recommended to seek professional advice from a qualified financial advisor or consultant. We do not assume any responsibility or liability for any financial loss, damage, or inconvenience caused as a result of the use of the information contained in this article.

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