The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”) comes into force on 1 October 2015. The Act sets out a framework that consolidates in one place key consumer rights covering contracts for goods, services, digital content and the law relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts.
The Act is divided into three parts, being:
- Consumer contracts for goods, digital content and services:
- Unfair terms; and
- Miscellaneous and general.
This article sets out some of the key changes set out in Parts 1 and 2 that will affect how retailers operate.
- Every contract to supply goods or digital content will be treated as having implied terms that the quality of goods/digital content are satisfactory, fit for all purposes for which goods/digital content of that kind are usually supplied and are as described.
- Consumers will have the “short-term” right to reject goods that are faulty or not as described within 30 days (save for perishable goods where the time period will be shorter). The burden of proof will be on the consumer to show that the goods do not conform to the contract.
- Consumers will have the right to request that faulty or not as described goods are repaired or replaced (even after the 30 day right to reject period has expired). Traders must do so within a reasonable period of time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer.
- Consumers will have the right to a reduction in the price or to reject the goods after one unsuccessful repair or replacement. Traders may be entitled to make a deduction in respect of any use the consumer has had of the goods before they are rejected.
- If a trader installs the goods (or the installation is done under the trader’s responsibility), the goods will be deemed to not conform to the contract if the installation is incorrect. Accordingly, the consumer remedies referred to above will apply, save as regards the short term right to reject.
- Every contract to supply a service is to be treated as including terms that the trader must perform the service with reasonable skill and care, that if not agreed the price will be reasonable and if the contract does not expressly fix a time for performance of the services, that they will be performed within a reasonable period of time. What is a reasonable period of time will be a question of fact.
- Consumers will have the right to request that the trader repeat performance of the services on one occasion or make a price reduction.
- The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 require traders to provide consumers with specified pre-contractual information in certain circumstances. Under the Act this pre-contract information will become an implied term of the contract and consumers will be entitled to claim for any costs they incur (up to the price of the goods) if a trader is in breach of those implied terms.
- Sets out contractual terms which may or must be regarded as unfair.
The Act introduces a number of important changes that are likely to require businesses to adapt the way in which consumer complaints are handled. Businesses would therefore be well advised to ensure that their customer services teams are fully conversant with the changes sooner rather than later. The fact that pre-contractual information may be an implied term of the contract will also mean all sales documentation must be up to date and accurate to avoid claims for compensation.
The Act has been introduced with the intention of consolidating and simplifying consumer law. Only time will tell whether this proves to be the case.
For more information about the issues in this article or to find out more about how the Dispute resolution team can help you please contact the Ally Tow on 0118 952 7206 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.