Can I get a refund if a used laptop doesn’t work? Your rights buying second … –

Buying a used computer that proved to be faulty left a pensioner out of pocket because he didn’t know that he was entitled to a refund ­under comsumer law.

Mr White’s story is the perfect example of the misconception that shoppers have no rights when it comes to second-hand goods.

The 70-year-old paid £140 for a used laptop at a market stall.

When he got it home he found that the computer was very slow. So he took it back to get a refund.

But the trader would only ­exchange the laptop for a different one – with Mr White paying an extra £30.

This replacement was no better as, among other faults, the battery would not charge. Mr White again complained to the trader who agreed to changed the battery.

However, the computer still failed to charge and four more ­attempts to fix it all failed.

Fed up with the situation and feeling like he had not got what he paid for, Mr White asked for his money back. But the trader refused saying that Mr White has no rights as the laptop was sold as ­second hand.

Guess what, the trader is wrong.

So here’s a brief guide to your rights when buying goods second hand.

The basic law

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 says that traders must sell goods that are as described, fit for purpose and of satisfactory quality. This applies to new and second-hand goods. However, the level of protection you’ll receive will vary depending on the seller.

Who is the seller?

If you’re buying a used item on eBay from a commercial trader you will be protected under the Act.However, if you’re buying from an individual – which constitutes a private sale – the rules are slightly different.

In these circumstances you are entitled to a refund only if the goods are not as described by the person selling them.

Mr White’s case

Mr White purchased the laptop from a commercial trader so he has the full protection of the Sale of Goods Act. As the machine is clearly faulty he is entitled to his money back in full.


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