The Consumer Rights Act, which became law on October 1st, gives you as a consumer more rights and more say over your transactions with traders. It means less stress when things go wrong after you have paid for goods or services. This applies to online and in-store purchases, and to every contract signed.
Some of the key changes are outlined below.
WHEN BUYING IN SHOPS OR ONLINE – YOUR IMPROVED RIGHTS
All goods must now:
- Match the description, sample or model seen by you (e.g. in a shop display, catalogue or online), in addition to being of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and correctly installed.
If the trader fails on any of the above:
- You have a quick remedy. You can reject the faulty, unfit, wrong or incorrectly-installed goods within 30 days following purchase or delivery, and claim a refund which must be paid within 14 days.
- Or, if you have lost or chosen not to exercise your above right of rejection, you will be able to claim for the goods to be repaired or replaced. The trader only has one chance to do this, and must do so at no cost, within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience.
- Or, if repair or replacement is not available or is unsuccessful, you can keep the goods AND claim a price reduction. This reduction can only be claimed after a repair or replacement has failed. Depending on how severe the failings are, this could cover up to the entire cost.
- You can reject the goods, send them back and sue the trader for compensation. However, this right has always existed.
All contracts for services must now meet the following requirements:
- They must be performed by the trader with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time and at a reasonable price. Any information which the trader says or puts in writing at a pre-contract stage is now binding on them, as long as you relied on it when buying.
If the trader fails to comply:
- They should either re-do the element which is inadequate, or perform the whole service again at no extra cost to you, within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience.
- In circumstances where a repeat performance is impossible, or can’t be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. Depending on how severe the failings are, this could be up to 100% of the cost.
- You could always sue for compensation instead, or ask a court to force the trader to comply. This isn’t an improved right, however, as it has always existed.
BUYING DIGITAL CONTENT – YOUR IMPROVED RIGHTS
All digital content must now:
- Match the description, sample or model seen/heard by you, in addition to being of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose.
If the trader fails on these points:
- You can claim for the digital content to be repaired or replaced. The trader doesn’t have just one chance to get this right, but must do it at no cost, within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience.
- If repair or replacement is not available or is unsuccessful, or is not provided within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience, you can keep the digital content and claim a price reduction. The price reduction can only be claimed after a repair or replacement has failed. Depending on how severe the failings are, this could be up to 100% of the cost.
- You can claim compensation for any damage to a device or other digital content caused by the purchased digital content.
- You can reject the digital content and sue the trader for compensation. However this right has always existed.
DELIVERIES – YOUR IMPROVED RIGHTS
When goods are being delivered:
- Traders are responsible for them until they are in your possession.
- Unless you and a trader agree a time for delivery before your contract is formed, goods must be delivered within 30 days.
If the trader fails on any of the above:
- If it was essential that the goods were delivered on time, you can cancel your purchase and get a full refund.
- If the delivery isn’t time-sensitive but another reasonable delivery time cannot be agreed, you can cancel the order and get a full refund. The Consumer Contracts Regulations still apply to items bought online, so you have 14 days to return goods, with no questions asked.
CONTRACTS – YOUR IMPROVED RIGHTS
All contracts must now:
- Clearly state the main elements of the deal, and outline the price in a transparent and prominent way.
- The terms must be in plain and intelligible language and, if written, in a legible format.
- The terms must be prominent so an average well-informed, observant and circumspect consumer would be aware of them.
- It’s now unacceptable for key terms to be hidden in pages of terms and conditions that you need a magnifying glass to read.
- Terms other than those specifying the main elements of the contract and setting the price will be seen as unfair if:
a) They are contrary to the requirements of good faith. They must be designed, negotiated and entered into with you in a fair and open way;
b) They cause a significant imbalance between the rights of the retailer and you as the consumer to your detriment.
How we can help
Should you need expert legal advice regarding any of the above or other consumer law matters, please contact us at Bromleys Solicitors on 0161 330 6821 or email Rachael Frankland on firstname.lastname@example.org
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.