Consumer Rights Act Receives Royal Assent
The Consumer Rights Act received Royal Assent on 26th March 2015, beginning an era of what the Government describes as enhanced and easier to understand rights for consumers.
The Act brings together existing laws from eight different pieces of previously existing legislation, but also introduces a number of new consumer rights that will come into effect on 1st October this year.
Key provisions of the new Act include:
- New rights for consumers to get a repair or a replacement of faulty digital content such as online film, games, music downloads and e-books.
- Giving consumers a clear right to demand that substandard services are redone or failing that receive a price reduction.
- A 30-day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund. The law is currently unclear on how long this period should last.
- Consumers being entitled to some money back after one failed repair of faulty goods (or one faulty replacement) even if more than 30 days have passed, rather than having to put up with repeated attempts to get a repair done.
- Consumers being able to challenge terms and conditions which are not fair or are hidden in the small print.
“For too long consumers and businesses have struggled to understand the complicated rules that apply when buying goods and services,” commented Consumer Affairs Minister Jo Swinson.
“That is why the Consumer Rights Act is so important in setting out clear and updated consumer rights for goods, services and, for the first time, digital content,” she added.
Joanne Lezemore says:
“The Act is very welcome for consumers because it consolidates a lot of the existing laws in place, but also gives consumer some new and enhanced rights, and clarifies the remedies available to consumers when things go wrong. Any business that provides a service or sells goods will be affected and businesses will need to make sure they are fully aware of the changes.”
The Act also includes a number of measures designed to specifically reduce the burdens of understanding and applying consumer law:
- A new requirement for enforcers such as Trading Standards Officers to give 48 hours’ notice to businesses when carrying out routine inspections, saving business £4.1 million per year. Trading Standards Officers will still be able to carry out unannounced inspections where they suspect illegal activity.
- Faster and lower cost remedies for businesses that have been disadvantaged from breaches in competition law.
In anticipation of the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act, the Trading Standards Institute has carried out a significant amount of work to help businesses understand how the new legislative framework will affect their rights and responsibilities, including the development of new reference tools and virtual college courses.
If you need help in understanding the new legislation as a business, we offer fun, interactive training sessions lasting from an hour, to a day – call for more information.
Contact our lawyers today for expert legal advice on all areas of consumer law. Call us on 01279 653 011 or book an appointment through our online booking system.