The new Consumer Rights Act 2015

A new law came into being in April 2015, which comes into force on 1 October 2015. It ‘tidies up’ consumer protection legislation, by replacing twelve other laws and combining them into one, hopefully more coherent, whole.

It will 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.

Most of these changes are important updates to existing laws. But there are 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.

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. [Source: Citizens Advice.org.uk]

Further information and examples of how the new law will work can be found here.

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