The Consumer Rights Act - six months onHow well do you know your rights?
22 April 2016
Six months ago, the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force, billed as the biggest shake-up in consumer rights law in a generation. But what’s changed?
The act replaced three big pieces of consumer legislation - the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act.
Last November, Which? research found that 34% of people hadn't heard of the new Consumers Rights Act.
The survey found that many were unclear of their refund and digital rights. They were also unsure what they’re entitled to if a product develops a fault.
We’ve picked out some of the biggest recent changes you need to be aware of.
And if you want to find out more, we’ve made it even easier for you to solve your everyday consumer problems with our recently relaunched Consumer Rights website.
New digital rights
A key update in the new Consumer Rights Act is the new protection when purchasing digital products.
The new rules state that if you buy digital content, such as music, video downloads or ebooks, they have to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.
If they aren’t, then you have a right to a refund in the same way as with a physical product.
30-day right to a refund for faulty goods
The Consumer Rights Act makes it clear that consumers now have the right to a full refund on faulty goods 30 days from the date of purchase. But our survey found that 69% of people didn’t know this.
Previously, under the Sale of Goods Act, there wasn't a specific timeframe but what was described as a 'reasonable time' in which you could reject a faulty item and get a full refund.
The new Consumer Rights Act now gives clarity on this. However, this right doesn’t apply to digital content.
No more late deliveries
The new rules also mean companies have to take greater responsibility if you don't get your goods within a reasonable time.
Retailers have to deliver purchases within 30 days or on a date that has been agreed between the customer and retailer. If they fail to do this, you're now entitled to a full refund.
Retailer or manufacturer?
When faced with a faulty item, 85% of people said they would prefer to return it to the retailer, rather than the manufacturer. But many were unclear that they had a legal right to take faulty goods back to the retailer.
Under the Consumer Rights Act, if something goes wrong your rights are against the retailer - not the manufacturer - so you should lodge your claim with the retailer.
However, you can claim under the manufacturer's guarantee if you prefer - for example, if you think it might be quicker or easier to contact the manufacturer.
Four in 10 people wrongly thought they didn’t have any legal rights outside of the manufacturer's guarantee if an electrical appliance develops a fault.
The good news is that your rights don’t end when the manufacturer's guarantee ends. Guarantees don't limit your legal rights under the Consumer Rights Act.
Do you know your rights? Test your knowledge
We've created a short quiz so you can find out how well you know your consumer rights.
Do YOU know your consumer rights?
Last October, the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force, billed as the biggest shake-up in consumer rights law in a generation.
But how well do you know your new rights?
How long do companies have to deliver your online purchases?
If you find out the headphones you bought last month are faulty you have no right to a refund, repair or replacement from the retailer who sold them to you
If you buy an app for your phone it's legally required to be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described - or you may be entitled to a refund
Who is legally responsible for the safe delivery of your online order?
The delivery company
How much can you claim in the small claims court in England and Wales for most contractual disputes?
Up to £3,000
Up to £5,000
Up to £10,000
Up to £18,000
You're a consumer rights novice
You're a savvy shopper
You're a consumer rights guru!
- Find out more about the changes introduced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015
- Use our free tool to create a complaint letter if you have a faulty product
- Learn more about your extra consumer rights when you're shopping online