New Consumer Rights Act 2015
It’s 3 months on from the New Consumer Rights Act 2015 being put into action. From October 1st 2015, legislation involving the overhaul of consumer rights came into action. The new Act is clearer and easier to understand and provides consumers with much greater protection than they previously had. Replacing the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act, it covers most key contracts for goods and services alongside digital content sold to a consumer.
If you sell goods or services to consumers, it is important that you understand how the changes impact you and if you haven’t already made the necessary changes, to do so as soon as possible.
This act establishes several principles:
- You get what you paid for– all information regarding the characteristics of the goods, including statements within advertising, forms part of the contract.
- Faults in products you sell should be put right– a tiered remedy system is in place in the event of a consumer’s rights being breached, including a mandatory 30-day timeframe to reject faulty goods. Traders are limited to one opportunity to repair/replace faulty goods, following which the consumer can demand a discount or return the goods and demand a refund.
- Digital content should be fit for purpose– digital content now has its own separate regime of rights and remedies.
- Traders perform services with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time, with the consumer obliged to pay a reasonable price.
- Consumers can easily challenge terms and fees, which are hidden or not obvious at the point the goods and services were purchased.
Danger of contracts not being amended to reflect the new law
The implementation of this Act has been warmly welcomed by customers and business owners. However, although the Act sets clear guidelines for consumer protection, there is still some speculation regarding business owner’s awareness on the changes, together with their obligations and whether these are reflected in contracts. Similarly, problems with the new law not being reflected within contracts are also apparent on terms for goods and services bought digitally.
Consumers have the right to report problems to a local Trading Standards department if their rights are being breached. Businesses who break the rules could face numerous consequences such as prosecution. In turn, this could have serious repercussions in cost and reputation. Crucially, businesses should be kept up-to-date with the changes in the law, by having their terms and conditions and other business contracts reviewed.
If you sell goods or services to consumers and have not made any changes to your terms of business or website, or if you would like any further information or advice concerning the new Consumer Rights, please contact one of our business solicitors on 01283 526200.