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A New Consumer Rights Act - What You Need To Know

24 Sep 2015

What does this new consumer protection legislation mean for you?

A New Consumer Rights Act  - What You Need To Know

On the 1st October 2015, new consumer rights legislation will come into force in the UK. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”) extends to Northern Ireland. This new legislation hopes to ‘simplify, strengthen and modernise’ UK consumer legislation, replacing the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Unfair Contract Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 .

Under the Act, consumers and businesses will have clearer rights and responsibilities. These include:

1. New rights for consumers to get a repair or refund for faulty digital content e.g. e-books, online movies etc.
The Act defines digital content as ‘data which are produced and supplied in digital form’. It applies to all ‘paid for’ digital content, including ‘in-app’ purchases.

2. Consumers have a clear right to demand that substandard services are performed again or, failing that, a price reduction is applied.
Consumers now have statutory remedies available to them under this legislation, including ‘repeat performance’ and price reduction if a service does not conform to the contract. The remedy available will depend on the level of non-compliance.

3. 30 day time limit to get a full refund for faulty goods.
The Act has introduced a new specific time frame for obtaining a refund. The legislation had previously been rather vague on this limit, described simply as a ‘reasonable time’.
                               
4. Consumers can now challenge terms and conditions of supply which may be deemed unfair and/or hidden in the ‘small print’.
New rules outlined in the legislation mean that it is easier to challenge hidden fees and charges in consumer contracts. The Act goes further to state that all the main elements of a contract must be brought to the attention of the consumer. Previously, the legislation had only stated that such things must only be legible, therefore often hidden in the ‘small print’ in the terms and conditions.

5. The introduction of a ‘tiered’ remedy system.
A new tiered remedy system will clearly set out your rights to a repair, refund or replacement. This means your right to a refund will depend on how long you have owned the product or the nature of the service you hace received. Futher, no reduction can be made to a refund within the first six months – with the exception of motor vehicles.

If you require legal advice on this new legislation and how it may affect you, contact one of our commercial litigation soliictors at Hewitt and Gilpin by calling 028 90 573573.

 

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