2 years on and it’s probably true to say that the Consumer Rights Act 2015, whilst meant to be a big change in consumer rights, hasn’t made the splash some though it would.
Consumers have new rights from October 2015, including a 30-day period to claim a full refund on faulty goods and, for the first time, protections on digital content purchases. They can also challenge unfair or hidden trading terms.
For businesses there were also new requirements to prepare for and to educate their staff about such as:
- If services are not provided with reasonable care and skill, or as they were agreed, consumers can now demand that sub-standard services are re-done or receive a price reduction.
- A 30-day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund – previously consumers had a “reasonable” period for goods to be rejected. Now it’s defined, but note the consumer must prove the goods are faulty, i.e. not of merchantable quality or fit for purpose.
- After one failed repair, or after one replacement which has also failed, consumers can demand their money back, in full, during the first six months, rather than having to agree to repeated attempts to get a repair done.
- Any unfair or hidden terms can be challenged by consumers.
- New rights for consumers for a repair or a replacement of faulty digital content such as online film, games, music downloads and e-books.
The aim of the new Consumer Rights Act is to reduce disagreements and court action. Where a dispute cannot be resolved directly between the supplier and consumer, the Act promotes dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration, as an alternative to the court system.
From October 2015, traders will have to provide the consumer with a route to Alternative Dispute Resolution through a certified scheme, which could be through their relevant trade body or similar organisation, if they cannot resolve the dispute directly. It’s important that terms and conditions are reviewed and updated as necessary.
In future, these must be prominent and transparent, if traders want to avoid finding themselves being assessed for fairness. So, if you have hugely detailed small print that no one could possibly read, it’s worth seeing whether you can reduce this, or at the very least making sure that there’s nothing hidden in there that the consumer should know about up-front. It’s very important that staff are fully briefed on the extent of the new law as there are a number of far-reaching implications.
Example 1) A consumer specifies a purpose when buying, and is advised by a member of staff. It’s important that the goods or services are going to be suitable for that purpose; otherwise if it fails to deliver, they have a right to claim their money back.
Example 2) For suppliers of digital content, it’s important that traders ensure they are complying with the aspects of the new legislation that specifically relate to them. In the past the law has been unclear in this area, as it failed to keep up with the huge growth and demand for digital products.
Are you a business? If you want to know more about the impact of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 on your business please ring our Commercial Legal Team or complete the enquiry form below.
Are you a consumer? And have purchased a product that you feel breaches the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and would like legal advice on how to recover your losses, please ring our Litigation Legal Team or complete the enquiry form below.