6 min Read
01 Oct 2015

Written by Liam

Over 30 years experience in financial services, residential lettings and property sales. Director of a leading national estate agency chain, until leaving in 2008 to pursue other commercial interests. Vast experience in new business development, business change, management development and business strategy.

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Consumer Rights Act 2015 simplifies and strengthens consumer law

Consumer Rights Act 2015 simplifies and strengthens consumer law

shopping bagsBig changes in consumer legislation came into effect on the 1st October 2015 as the Consumer Rights Act became law. This new act replaces three existing pieces of consumer legislation - the Sales of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulation and the Supply of Goods and Services Act.

What are the changes invoked by the Consumer Rights Act 2015?

General points

  • Consumers now have 30 days in which to reject a faulty item and get a full refund
  • Failed repairs - after one failed attempt by a retailer to repair or replace a faulty item the consumer is then entitled to a refund or reduction in the purchase price
  • The consumer can request another repair or replacement if they don't want a refund
  • Any refund must be made in full, with no deductions, in the first six months after purchase except in the case of motor vehicles where a reasonable reduction can be made for the use of the vehicle
  • New rights for consumers in relation to online digital content that is paid for, supplied free with other paid for items or supplied on a physical medium e.g. DVD
  • It will now be easier for consumers to challenge hidden fees and charges

Things to note

Product quality

A product whether physical or digital must meet the following standards:

  • Goods shouldn't be faulty or damaged when you receive them
  • Goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for as well as any specific purposes you made known to the retailer before you purchased the goods
  • Goods must match any description given to the consumer at the time of purchase

30 day right to reject

  • Consumers now have 30 days in which to reject a faulty item and get a full refund
  • This period is shorter for perishable goods and is determined by how long it would be reasonable to expect the goods to last

Rights after 30 days

  • If goods are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described the retailer must be given one opportunity to repair or replace any goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described
  • If you are outside the 30-day right to reject, you have to give the retailer one opportunity to repair or replace any goods or digital content which are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described
  • The consumer can choose whether they want the goods to be replaced or repaired

Rights from 30 days to 6 months

  • If a fault is found within the first six months from delivery it is deemed to have beed there from the time of delivery unless the retailer can prove otherwise
  • If an attempt at repair or replacement has failed you have the right to reject the goods for a full refund or price reduction
  • No deduction can be made from a refund in the first 6 months after an unsuccessful attempt at repair or replacement, in the case of motor vehicles a reduction can be made to cover the use of the motor vehicle in the period since delivery

Beyond 6 months

  • After 6 months the responsibility is on the consumer to prove the product was faulty at the time of delivery
  • In practice this may require a report or assessment from an expert or evidence of similar problems with the product in question

Rights regarding delivery

  • A retailer is responsible for goods until they are in the possession of the purchaser meaning that the retailer is responsible for the service provided by the courier
  • If the retailer fails to deliver within 30 days (or the agreed date if longer than 30 days) and you can't agree another delivery date then the consumer can demand a refund

Supply of services

  • Includes services from small repair jobs on a car to major building work
  • Traders must perform services with reasonable care and with a level of competency
  • Any information whether spoken or written that a consumer relies on is binding
  • If the price for a service is not agreed beforehand a reasonable price must be charged
  • The service must be completed within a reasonable time period
  • Failure to comply with the above will require the supplier to redo the work at no extra cost
  • If the work cannot be redone in a reasonable time without causing significant inconvenience then a reduction can be claimed or in serious cases a full refund

Unfair contracts terms

  • Key terms of any contract must be fair prominent and transparent
  • Contracts must be entered into with the consumer in a fair and open way
  • Fees and charges should not be hidden in small print
  • Excessive early termination charges should not be invoked

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