AA Legal Documents
Law guide

Clothes and shoes



If you have bought any clothing (including a pair of shoes), it must be:

  • Of satisfactory quality
  • Fit for its purpose
  • As described
This means it must be:

  • Fit to be worn; the seams should not be coming apart or the material flawed
  • What you asked for; for example, waterproof
  • The same size as stated on the label
When an item doesn't meet any of its conditions:

After wearing item only a few times

If you have only worn it a few times or haven't had a reasonable opportunity to check it, you have the right to reject the item of clothing and seek a refund if it has a fault or does not meet the requirements listed above.

If the fault is only minor and can easily be put right, it is reasonable to accept a repair or replacement. The seller must carry out this repair at no additional cost to you. The repair must also be of a good standard, or else you are entitled to a refund.

After wearing the item more than a few times

If you have worn it more than a few times or have had a reasonable opportunity to check it, you are probably still entitled to a repair or replacement. A repair should be carried out within a reasonable period of time and without causing you significant inconvenience. Any repair should restore it to a satisfactory condition. If this does not happen, you are entitled to a replacement or compensation. This could be what you paid for it or the cost of having somebody else repair the item.

If an item of clothing purchased has a fault and you would like a repair from the seller, this should be completed at no additional expense to you.

If an item cannot be repaired or replaced

If the item of clothing cannot be replaced or repaired economically, you are entitled to a refund. The trader may make a reduction from the price you paid to allow for the use you have had from the clothing.

If a fault has caused additional expense

If anything else has been damaged, for example, if the colour ran due to a fault and discoloured other clothes, or you are out of pocket in any other way, you may be entitled to compensation over and above the price of the item.

Important points

  • You have no rights if the item simply doesn't fit
  • You have no rights if you simply change your mind
  • You have no rights if you have selected the wrong clothes for a particular use
However, you have seven working days to cancel a contract for goods ordered by telephone, mail order, internet or fax, except for those goods which are made to order. For more information, see our section on 'Your right to cancel'.

Remember that no items last forever and all clothes need to be looked after to avoid unnecessary damage. However, if there are genuine problems with an item of clothing, the seller must fix the situation. The seller cannot tell you to go back to the manufacturer.

If things go wrong

As soon as you have determined that there is a problem with an item of clothing that you have purchased:

  • Stop wearing the item of clothing
  • Make certain that the fault was not caused by misuse, an accident, normal wear and tear or by not following the care label
  • Locate your proof of purchase. If you haven't got a receipt, you can use a credit card voucher or cheque stub. Own-brand goods, something exclusive to one shop (such as a customised carrier bag) or the packaging may prove where you bought the item. If someone was with you when you bought it, they can back you up. Remember that it is up to you to show where and when you bought the clothes.
  • You will now need to contact the trader straight away and report the problem. If you bought the clothes locally, visit the trader. Take the item, the packaging (if possible) and any proof of purchase with you. If you cannot take the clothes back to the shop, phone or write to the trader.