Digital downloads are given their own unique category under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
A digital download is classed as data which is produced and supplied in digital form. For example, an eBook, apps or online films.
The Consumer Rights Act defines digital content as ‘data which are produced and supplied in digital form.’
This means you have rights for anything you download or stream – including apps, music, movies, games or ebooks.
Digital content must be:
- of satisfactory quality
- fit for a particular purpose
- as described by the seller
If your digital content does not conform to these criteria and develops a fault, you have the right to have your digital product repaired or replaced.
Repair or replacement
The retailer has one opportunity to repair or replace any goods or digital content which are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, before you can claim a refund.
You can choose whether you want the goods to be repaired or replaced.
But the retailer can refuse if they can show that your choice is disproportionately expensive compared to the alternative.
You're entitled to a full or partial refund instead of a repair or replacement if any of the following are true:
- the cost of the repair or replacement is disproportionate to the value of the digital content
- a repair or replacement is impossible
- a repair or replacement would be significantly inconvenient
- the repair would take unreasonably long
- the repair has been unsuccessful
If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can then claim a refund or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product.
If you don't want a refund and still want your product repaired or replaced, you have the right to request the retailer makes further attempts at a repair or replacement.
How you purchased the content matters:
- Any digital content for which you have paid for - whether that’s with money, a gift card or credits.
- Any free digital content supplied with goods, services of other digital content for which you pay a price. For example, a digital programme you need to download in order to watch a paid-for online streaming service.
- Any free digital content not usually available for free unless you pay a price for it or the goods, services or digital content it’s supplied with. For example, a smart TV or any other product with digital content pre-installed.
The retailer will also have to compensate you if any device or other digital content you own is damaged as a result of the faulty digital content you've downloaded.
This applies where that damage would not have occurred had ‘reasonable care and skill’ been exercised in the provision of the digital content - even if that content was provided free of charge.
Cancelling a digital download
Digital downloads are given their own unique category under the Consumer Contracts Regulations and are therefore not services or goods.
If you want to download something within 14 days of buying it, you will have to give your consent to waive the 14 day cooling-off period.
If you don’t give your consent, the 14 day cooling-off period still applies but you won't be able to download your digital content until this period has ended.
This is to prevent you from changing your mind after you have downloaded the content.
Check the terms and conditions
It's always worth checking the seller's terms and conditions because some retailers may offer refunds or exchanges as a gesture of goodwill if you make a genuine mistake on a purchase, even if you've waived your right to cancel.
Before you buy:
- Check the version and format of the download
- Read reviews of the download before you commit
- Check whether you're agreeing to download your item before your cancellation period ends
Getting a refund on a download
If you’ve made a genuine mistake with a download purchase, it’s worth contacting the retailer to see if you can get a refund, or exchange the download for the one you really want – you’ve nothing to lose.
Some retailers do have a window of opportunity within which you can apply for a refund on a download purchase if you change your mind.