It strikes me we are wholey uneducated about how to buy and generally deal with the expensive transactions involved in the business of being PC enthusiasts. So I'm putting together this thread with a few basic tips. It's not really the place to moan about grievances but rather how to shop smart and also how to resolve issues that may arise when things go wrong. So however heated you may get, simply remain calm and stand up for your consumer rights with these basic tips. Change Log: Version 1.0 (02/10/2011) - Published the rough framework of this guide. Version 1.1 (02/10/2011) - Further information about third party payment systems. Version 1.2 (02/10/2011) - Included template letters for Chargeback and Section 75 claims with original sources linked. Version 1.3 (03/10/2011) - Written a brief section covering Distance Selling Regulations. Version 1.4 (03/10/2011) - Given a description of how to contact the retailer and follow RMA procedures. Version 1.5 (06/10/2011) - Written a section covering the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended). Version 1.6 (11/10/2011) - More detailed information concerning the Distance Selling Regulations. Version 1.7 (15/10/2011) - Expanded information about Section 75. Version 1.8 (31/10/2011) - Information about interest penalties under Chargeback. Version 1.9 (22/04/2013) - Expanded information regarding Chargeback. Version 2.0 (16/06/2014) - Distance Selling Regulations revoked and replaced by Consumer Rights Directive. Remember this is a work in progress thread that will hopefully provide a basic framework for you to stand up for your consumer rights. I've placed it in the 'Hardware' section because without a doubt it's the most relevant when it comes to dealing with faulty PC equipment. I would like to place on record the excellent resources available from moneysavingexpert.com and also other consumer websites. I've extracted many resources from these and reference links have been provided where direct quotes were used. The contents of my post has been tuned exclusively to buying PC hardware however these principles of course apply to anything you spend money upon. Shopping Smart: The internet makes sourcing components for your PC easier and more bewildering than ever before! Shop around and find the best price for components but also take in to account the sellers status. If you find a component on ebay for £10 less than a renowned on-line retailer ask yourself is it really worth the risk? Buying through an auction website diminishes your consumer rights such as Chargeback and Section 75 that will be explained in more detail latter on. It's also worth bearing in mind that given the choice it's best not to use a third party payment system such as Google Checkout or PayPal, these both diminish your consumer rights and any dispute is much easier to handle if it involves your credit/debit cards company and the retailer alone. Saving Money Cashback: I want to mention this before getting on to the heavier aspects of consumer law as a majority seem to be unaware of how or where to get cashback. It's a fairly recent internet phenomenom whereby a referral website earns cashback for a sale and this revenue is passed directly to you. The two big players include quidco.com and topcashback.co.uk, all you need to do is register and make normal purchases through participating vendors but you must first login to the cashback service and access the vendors website through their referral system. A couple of examples of PC tech vendors include dabs.com and ebuyer.com but many more are registered and it's worth finding out if that expensive purchase you were going to make can accrue cashback! Case in point: In my 3 years of using quidco.com there are simply too many to list but I shall focus on a couple of interesting cases. In the first example I purchased a very expensive 5870 graphics card from dabs via the cashback website and earned £15 that was paid a couple of months later. The card turned out to be dead on arrival but because the cashback works on a referral scheme and it registered a sale then I kept the £15 cashback. Not bad for the trouble of processing a return and refund on a faulty 5870! The second example was a special discount referral that Pixmania offered to quidco.com users. It gave a 15% discount code for PC hardware which at the time included a Crucial M4 64GB SSD and this was on top of the standard cashback available through quidco.com. When all said and done I paid around £75 for an M4 SSD when the price was more commonly £10 more expensive at that time! In both examples it's about finding the best place to buy the hardware and then getting an even better deal by application of cashback and in the latter, discount codes. Over my three years of quidco.com use I've saved over £450 which is a top of the range GTX 580 in anyones money. So it's well worth the effort. Bear in mind cashback websites can be used for a multitude of purchases outside of PC technology including DVD sales from play.com or even groceries from sainsburys! Know your Rights Before taking the measures below and if you have a fundamental problem with the quality of the goods you receive then it's always best to talk with the retailer involved first and foremost. I would recommend contacting the retailer on-line since it's much easier to outline your problem in clear English by this method and incur less cost and hassle compared to talking over the telephone which can prove quite stressful and time consuming. Many retailers have robust RMA (return merchandise authorisation) processes in place that deal with these very problems. Be patient and follow these procedures to the letter and also keep any paperwork including return postage receipts because if things go wrong they will hold you in good stead to fight for your consumer rights. VISA and Mastercard Chargeback: Not as robust as Section 75 but the Chargeback scheme is still worth exploration if you're looking for compensation of funds under £100 or where a debit card was used. It's a scheme of rules that most banks subscribe to but is not compulsary (unlike Section 75) and is a process whereby the charge can be reversed on any transaction if a problem arises with the goods you have purchased. It's also worth noting that some credit card companys will accrue interest against a disputed charge if the statement balance has not been paid in full for that particular period. So in some cases, if the charge is recent, then it could be beneficial to wait for the statement to be paid before raising a dispute. This scheme is only valid for 120 days from the date of purchase however. Case in point: I bought a Samsung Blu-ray drive for my PC which I realised after 5 months of ownership was defective. It was a tough fault to reproduce as the problem occured intermittently generally when large file transfers from disc were taking place. Examples include game installation and producing MKV files from Blu-ray; the drive would simply stall. Returned the drive to the retailer at my own expense who then conducted tests and passed the drive as non-faulty. They also levied a charge of £20 + VAT against me which I disputed and never paid. I contacted my credit card company and stated my case asking if it was possible to apply a chargeback since the goods proved defective within 6 months (Sales of Goods Act 1979) and had been returned to the seller. The retailer soon processed my claim for a replacement not long after I filed a dispute against the original charge with my credit card company. In this instance the Chargeback had not even been processed but it undoutedly put pressure upon the retailer to replace the defective drive. Credit Card Section 75: Now a credit card should only be used to spend money that you have within your means. So pay for your groceries, petrol and other expenses but don't go wild and buy the latest 60" Plasma TV. That is unless you have the money to clear your credit card statement in full by the end of the month! That said if you do intend to buy individual items that cost £100 or over then Section 75 is a useful bit of law that gives you piece of mind as the credit card company is equally liable should the goods you bought be faulty. Should a company go bust during a period when you are expecting to take delivery of goods yet to be dispatched, Section 75 also provides coverage. The crucial point is that it's an individual item be it a graphics card or a complete pre-built PC system that costs £100 or over, only then is Section 75 relevant. If a Hard Drive costing £40 is bought and Memory for £60 the cumulative total of £100 does not grant you Section 75 inclusion. However the good news is that if you spent £100 or over then Section 75 does have you covered for 6 years. Now how many things costing this much do you throw out before the expiration of 6 years from the date of receiving the goods? One thing to be aware of is a small clause that if a third party payment system is used for the purchase such as PayPal, Google Checkout and other similar services then it pretty much renders Section 75 redundant. For expensive goods make sure you can pay the retailer directly with a credit card. Case in point: An example I'm happy to put on the record involved the return of a video card that was found to be dead on arrival and cost in excess of £100. The retailer involved was Pixmania who arranged to have the package sent back to them, I simply needed to print off the postage information and drop it off at the nearest UPS depot. They recieved the faulty video card and then refunded money to a 'Pix Piggy Bank' which is associated with your individual Pixmania account and can only be redeemed aginst items they have for sale on their website. This was unacceptable and they refused to refund my credit card directly. So I processed a Section 75 claim with my credit card company which motivated Pixmania to process the refund directly to my credit card freeing me to spend the money wherever I wanted. Much like my example with chargeback, it was not necessary to complete the Section 75 claim in full, the pressure from this process made Pixmania provide a full monetary refund to my credit card. Consumer Rights Directive: This piece of legislation is intended to provide the consumer with a chance to see the goods first hand whilst allowing you a cool off period of 14 calendar days. Only available should you order goods over the internet, mail order or by telephone. If you decide the goods are not what you wanted for whatever reason during these 14 days you can invoke the Consumer Rights Directive and return the goods to the place of purchase for a refund. Unlike the previous Distance Selling Regulations that were revoked in place of this legislation, now if the goods show any signs of use the retailer is entitled to subtract money from any refund. Furthermore you may have to pay for return postage if it's stipulated in the terms of sale from the retailer. If it is not then the retailer must pay for the return postage and provide a refund that includes the original delivery charge. The crucial point to remember is that legally you must send notice to the retailer informing them you wish to cancel your order under the Consumer Rights Directive. This can be sent in the form of a Letter or E-Mail. From the date you cancel the order the goods must be returned to the retailer within 14 days. Upon receipt the retailer must process a refund within 14 days. Case in point: I've not experienced this myself but I can outline an example for the sake of a demonstration! I purchased a graphics card that I tested outside of the case and it was found to be in excellent working order with absolutely no problems. Then I proceeded to build the PC piece by piece in to the computer case until it came to installation of the graphics card. When I found the graphics card was too big and simply would not fit in to the chassis! It had been under 14 days since I first received the graphics card, so invoking the Consumer Rights Directive allowed me to return the graphics card and receive a full unconditional refund. Similarly if you encounter compatibility issues with any PC components without a fault then don't delay and process the Consumer Rights Directive as soon as possible. Sale of Goods Act 1979: If you regret not buying that extended warranty, after reading the Sale of Goods Act 1979 you'll wonder why you even considered it in the first place! Now most manufacturers and retailers offer something in the region of one or two years warranty. However when you buy goods from a retailer, under law a binding contract is formed that basically states the goods should be fit for purpose. The duration of this contract is not one or two years but an extensive six years (only 5 for Scotland)! If the goods should fail before 6 months of ownership then the onus is on the retailer to prove the goods were not at fault at the time of sale and should offer a repair or replacement. A refund can also be requested in a reasonable time frame from the date of purchase but the law does not specify what 'reasonable' is defined as, so this is certainly a patchy area! If the goods should develop a fault after 6 months from the date of ownership then it is your responsibility to prove the goods have developed a fault. After submitting proof to the retailer you are quite within your rights to request a repair or replacement. Furthermore it is possible to request damages as an alternative which would equate to the cost of repair or replacement in a court of law. Case in point: Quite a common example to find and one very few people act upon is the Nvidia GPU failure found in many laptops around a couple of years old. It's a fatal hardware flaw and the mountain of supportive evidence on-line is very convincing should you find yourself in the same situation. A simple engineers report should be enough to convince any retailer that you have a valid claim under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and if it doesn't the small claims court would be your next stop. If the laptop was heading for the bin anyway there is very little harm in flexing your consumer rights with this issue.