“Many people want the government to protect the consumer. A much more urgent problem is to protect the consumer from the government.”
Current consumer law, such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979; The Consumer Contract Regulations 2014 and other statutory regulations are now incorporated into one Act of Parliament called The Consumer Rights Act, 2015 – but what does this mean for us in the UK?
The Consumer Rights Act, 2015
This new Act, implemented on 1st October 2015, provides consumers with one statute which is easier to understand. It seeks to complement the current European Consumer Rights Directive.
The key developments of this Act are as follows:
Contracts between consumers and businesses will have wording which is much easier to understand; for example; goods supplied must be exactly the same as the model seen by the consumer before purchase, and if not, then this information had been brought to the consumer’s attention before purchase.
Pre-contractual information will become an implied term of a contract between a consumer and retailer, such as payment and delivery arrangement and timings. If these terms are not adhered to by the retailer, they will be found ‘in-breach’ and consumers will be able to claim for any costs they have incurred as a result.
If goods are faulty, of shoddy quality, or not as described; consumers will now have 30 days to reject these goods for replacement or a refund. This will now be called “The Right to Reject.” (For perishable goods, the “Right to Reject” will be much shorter).
If goods are faulty, of shoddy quality, or not as described; consumers will have the right to request a replacement or repair of the goods, even after the initial 30 day “Right to Reject” policy. If after a repair, the goods are still of unsatisfactory quality, then a final “Right to Reject” can be initiated by the consumer, requesting that a partial refund is offered for the repaired item, or that a full refund is provided.
If a trader has been asked to install goods through his or her services (eg. double glazing), and the installation was ‘poorly’ carried out, the goods will be deemed as “Not Conforming to Contract.” In this case, the consumer can request the trader to undertake the service again to ‘put it right,’ or may request a reduction in price, if the workmanship is ‘liveable’.
For services sold to a consumer, if anything is written or said by the trader either before or after the contract is made, and this information influences the decision of the consumer about the service; this will be deemed as an implied term of the contract.
Digital content has been a rather grey area for previous Consumer Law however, The Consumer Rights Act, 2015 seeks to address these issues as follows:
If digital content supplied by a trader is corrupted and destroys or damages a consumer’s electronic device or digital content, the trader will be found liable, (as long as the consumer can prove that the digital content supplied was corrupt when sent). The trader will either be required to repair the damage caused, or offer a reasonable sum of compensation.
“Obviously we’re a consumer nation and you have the power to influence these big corporations who are running the world right now through what you chose to, or not to, purchase.”