How will the Consumer Rights Act 2015 affect your business?

Reklamation im Elektrogeschaeft

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1st October 2015

The Act will make it easier for consumers to know their rights and to shop with confidence, by streamlining 8 pieces of legislation (including Sales of Goods Act, the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act) into 1.

Key changes include:

  • this will be the first time that consumers have had clear legal rights for digital content – specifically, the Act gives consumers the right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online films and games, music downloads, and ebooks
  • a 30 day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund, the law was previously unclear on how long this period should last
  • after 30 days, retailers have one opportunity to repair or replace any goods and the consumer can choose whether they want the goods to be repaired or replaced – if the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, the consumer can then claim a refund or a price reduction if they wish to keep the product
  • for the first time there are clear rules for what should happen if a service is not carried out with reasonable care and skill or as agreed with the consumer – the service provider will have to put the service right in line with what was agreed or, if that is not practical, must give some money back
  • consumers being able to challenge terms and conditions which are not fair or are hidden in the small print

When a problem does occur, it will be easier for disputes to be settled. From 1 October 2015, certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers will be available to help when a dispute cannot be settled between the business and the consumer. The system offers a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than going through the courts.

Businesses need to maksure their staff understand the new rules to avoid problems!

Gillian Guy, Chief executive of Citizens Advice said:

Businesses have a real opportunity to show they value their customers by upholding their new rights and signing up to an alternative dispute resolution scheme. This means people have an independent body they can raise a complaint with if they haven’t managed to resolve their issue with the trader.

Its really important to get your contracts right as fees and pricing, as well as other important terms in a contract, must now be both prominent and transparent. If a charge was hidden away and not brought to your attention, then a company won’t be able to enforce it.