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The Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

This Statute comes into force on 1st October 2015 and not only provide updates to existing law but also covers two new areas of law, namely rights relating to digital content as well as rules relating to what would happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill or as agreed. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 stands alongside Regulations to create a greatly simplified body of consumer law. Taken together, they set out the basic rules which govern how consumers buy and businesses sell to them in the UK.

Transparent rights will help you make better choices when you buy and save you time and money.

If a problem arises, disputes can be sorted out quicker and in a less costly way.  The changes are relevant to all consumers and all businesses that sell directly to consumers.

Consumers will have enhanced, easy to understand consumer rights and this will change core consumer rules around what to do if, for example, goods or services you bought are faulty.

The updated rights will help you, and businesses to avoid disagreements. But if a problem does occur, changes are also being brought in to make disputes easier to settle.

Alternative Dispute Resolution, for example through an Ombudsman, can offer a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than going through the Courts.  

What does the new Act cover?

  • what should happen when goods are faulty;
  • what should happen when digital content is faulty;
  • how services should match up to what has been agreed, and what should happen when they do not, or when they are not provided with reasonable care and skill;
  • unfair terms in a contract;
  • what happens when a business is acting in a way which isn’t competitive;
  • written notice for routine inspections by public enforcers, such as Trading Standards; and
  • greater flexibility for public enforcers, such as Trading Standards, to respond to breaches of consumer law, such as seeking redress for consumers who have suffered harm.

The two new areas of law:

  • This will be the first time that rights on digital content will have been set out in legislation. The Act gives consumers a clear right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online film and games, music downloads and e-books. The law here has been unclear up until now and this change brings us up to date with how digital products have evolved.  
  • For the first time, there are clear rules for what should happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill or as agreed. For example, the business that provided the service must bring it into line with what was agreed with the customer or, if this is not practical, must give some money back.

For further information the Citizens Advice have produced useful Q & As and Examples