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New rights for consumers coming soon! Get ready or face a fine..

Have you heard about the new Consumer Rights Act coming into force on 1st October 2015? It creates a number of new consumer rights in relation to the sale of goods, services and digital content by traders to consumers.

We are updating our terms of business template now to ensure it is in line with the new law. Get in touch if you’d like us to help update yours! In particular, CHECK YOUR REFUND POLICY!

Here’s a brief summary to help you ensure you’re not falling foul of the law.

Consumer Rights image

Don’t wait until you are in court to sort it out!

If you sell goods

  • Along with all the existing standards like fitness for purpose, satisfactory quality, correspondence with description, goods must match a sample, there are new standards, including:
  • Goods must match a model seen or examined by the consumer, except where the trader has brought differences to the consumer’s attention.
  • New standard for installed goods – they will not conform to the contract if they are installed incorrectly.
  • A new right to reject faulty goods within 30 days for a full refund (NB this does not apply to perishable goods). You can extend this deadline, but you can’t reduce it.
  • Where a consumer prefers a repair/replacement, the time limit for a right to refund is paused until the goods are returned by the trader. If the item still doesn’t conform to the contract upon return, then the consumer’s right to reject is extended by a minimum of 7 days.
  • Once the 30 days has passed, traders now have one opportunity to repair or replace the faulty item, after which, if repair/replacement is not possible or successful, the consumer can request money off or reject the goods for a full refund.
  • After the first 6 months, any refund may be reduced by a deduction for use to take into account the use the consumer has had of the goods. However, if they make the request for a refund within 6 months, traders will not be able to make a deduction for use for the majority of goods.

If you supply Digital Content

Digital content includes paid for content and content that comes free of charge with physical goods.

  • A new right to repair or replacement if the digital content is faulty.
  • If the fault can’t be fixed within a reasonable time, or without causing the consumer significant inconvenience, they can get some, or all of their money back.
  • If they can show the fault has damaged their device and the trader hasn’t used reasonable care and skill, the consumer may be entitled to a repair or compensation.
  • The consumer has a right to a refund if the business does not have the right to provide the digital content.

If you provide Services

  • Consumers have a new right to ask the trader to repeat or fix a service if it’s not carried out with reasonable care and skill, or get some money back if they can’t fix it within a reasonable time.
  • If services aren’t provided within a reasonable time, they now have a right to a price reduction.
  • If a price has not been agreed upfront, what the consumer is asked to pay must be reasonable.
  • If a time hasn’t been agreed upfront, it must be carried out within a reasonable time.

 Special points to note:

  • Do you know about the pre-contract information requirements set out in the Consumer Contracts Regulations? They are implied terms, which means they apply automatically and if you haven’t given all the necessary information to the consumer before they enter into a contract with you, you will be in breach of contract and liable for refunds. Ask us if you aren’t sure what we’re talking about!
  • Terms governing price and subject matter must be prominent and transparent in your terms of business. So you cannot reduce them in size and hope nobody notices!
  • Law enforcement agencies will be able to obtain a court order if you fail to comply with the Consumer Rights Act. If you do not comply with such a court order, you may end up with a penalty of an unlimited fine and/or two years imprisonment. So it’s a good idea to get to grips with the new law ahead of 1st October!!

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