The new Consumer Rights Act 2015 has become effective

Today – the 1st of October 2015 – the main parts of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 have become effective. The Consumer Rights Act replaces a number of laws with regard to business-to-consumer transactions. The Act is a part of the government reform of the UK’s consumer landscape which aims to make it easier for consumers to understand and access their key rights, including:

  • The right to clear and honest information before you buy;

  • The right to get what you pay for;
  • The right to goods and digital content being fit for purpose, and services being performed with reasonable care and skill; and
  • The right to have faulty products put right free of charge or to be provided with a refund or replacement.

One of the changes that may have a big impact on retailers is that when a consumer buys second hand goods from a business, they have 30 days to demand a replacement or full refund for a faulty item.  This means they have the same rights as when buying a new product.

Another change which is important for retailers and may make their lives easier concerns digital products. In a situation when a download doesn’t work, the retailer won’t have to refund, but they will have to make a replacement available. On the other hand , if the download “causes damage to a device or to other digital content” then the retailer is liable to pay compensation.

The most significant change is that consumers now have statutory remedies of ‘repeat performance’ and price reduction if a service does not conform to the contract. This would be the case in a situation in which a trader does not provide services with ‘reasonable skill and care’, or does not comply with the information that they have provided to the consumer about the service. It also applies if the service is not performed within a reasonable time, or the trader does not comply with the information that they have provided to the consumer which does not relate to the service. In such cases the consumer is entitled to a price reduction for the services or entitled to repeat performance.

The Act contains three parts:

  • Part 1 is about consumer contracts for goods, digital content and services;
  • Part 2 treats unfair terms;
  • Part 3 covers miscellaneous and general provisions.

If you wish to read the new legislation in full it can be found here or here.

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