Whenever you buy an item in Northern Ireland, you are afforded certain legal rights in connection to that purchase. If there is a problem with the item, then you may be entitled to a replacement, repair or refund for the cost of the item. You still have consumer rights, even if the item that you purchased was bought secondhand.
Type of damage or fault
You only have legal rights to a refund, repair or replacement if the problem falls into certain categories. Any other issues may exclude you from these legal rights.
If the item that you purchased is not of satisfactory quality (i.e. broken or damaged upon purchase), not fit for purpose (a problem with the item renders it unusable) or if it is not the same as the product which was advertised, then you may have the right to a refund, repair or replacement item. However, if the item is damaged by normal wear and tear, by an accident which was not the responsibility of the seller, or if the damage occurred because of the misuse of the item, then you will not have a legal right to return the item or have it replaced without charge.
If you were aware of the fault before you purchased the item (e.g. if you were made aware of the fault before the sale) then you do not have legal rights in regards to that particular issue, however if there are other faults which were not noted before sale, then you should have the same legal rights afforded to any other fault.
Changing your mind
Whilst many stores will allow consumers to return an item if they have changed their mind, this is not a legal right. If you think that there is a possibility that you might change your mind after purchase and that you may want to return the item because of this, then you should always check with the individual store before you make your purchase. They will be able to explain their returns policy to you before sale.
Most of the goods that you purchase will have at least a 30 days return period, however perishable goods (e.g. food items) will normally need to be returned sooner. During this period, the trader must offer you a repair or replacement within a reasonable amount of time. If they fail to do this, you can ask for a price reduction or reject the goods and get full refund.
If you find a fault with the item after 30 days, but within the first 6 months of delivery, the fault will be assumed to have existed at the time of the purchase unless that is the trader can prove otherwise (e.g. obvious signs of misuse), and they should offer a repair or replacement. If you attempt to claim a repair, refund or replacement more than 6 months after you purchased the goods, then the onus will be on the purchaser to prove that the fault was there at the time of delivery.