‘Know Your New Rights’ is the theme of this year’s National Consumer Week, which runs this week (2 to 6 November).
The Council is urging consumers and businesses to get to grips with the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 to avoid frustration when giving and receiving gifts this Christmas.
The new Act came into force on 1 October. It gives consumers the right to a full refund if the goods are faulty within the first 30 days and the consumer can prove the fault is not caused by misuse or accidental damage.
If a fault is present within the first six months, the business has one chance to repair the item and if this fails the consumer can ask for a refund or replacement. It is up to the business to show the fault was caused by the consumer if they dispute this.
There are also new rights for digital content such as downloaded games.
Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety said: “We are always keen to help consumers and local businesses to understand their rights and make sure they don’t fall foul of the law.
“Retailers are responsible for training their staff but we encourage consumers to also spend a few minutes familiarising themselves with the new law and their rights so they can shop with confidence, saving time and money down the line.
“People should consider their rights whenever they make a purchase but they may wish to take extra care at Christmas. Nobody wants to give or receive a defective product but it is important to know how to resolve any issues, should they arise.”
Consumers across the Borough can get advice from the Trading Standards Advice Centre based in Stockton Central Library. The centre is open Monday to Thursday from 8.30am to 5pm and Fridays from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
Advice is also available from Citizens Advice consumer service on 0345 04 05 06.
Local businesses can also get free and impartial advice on a host of trading standards legislation by calling Trading Standards on 01642 526560 or visiting www.