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New rules ‘to drive rogues out of business’

Rogue businesses targeted by Consumer Rights Directive


Consumers are to be given new rights to get their money back from rogue traders who ‘mislead or bully’ them into buying products or services, the government has announced.

Consumer Minister Jo Swinson said she wants to give greater rights to ‘drive rogues out of business’ and give stronger protection to vulnerable consumers.

New proposals in consumer protection regulations include consumers being given 90 days to cancel a contract and receive a full refund if they’ve been misled. 

The proposals also want consumers to have the right to claim compensation for any alarm or distress caused by dodgy or unfair practices.

Ms Swinson added: ‘The new rights announced today will mean consumers are entitled to the same level of protection whether they are purchasing goods or services online, at home or in a shop’

Greater rights for returning online goods

Other proposals in the Consumer Rights Directive will include increasing the time limit for returning goods purchased online or by phone from seven days to 14 days after the goods have been received. 

In addition, pre-ticked boxes for extras that consumers may not want or need could be banned.  

In response to the announcement, Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘These proposals will give consumers greater protection against rogue traders and strengthen their rights when shopping online.

‘The ban on pre-ticked boxes will also help prevent people from being opted in to extras they may not want or need. These changes, coupled with the new Consumer Bill of Rights, will give people more power to challenge bad practice.’

Draft Consumer Rights Bill

In May this year the government unveiled the draft Consumer Rights Bill which includes greater consumer rights for shoppers.

Under the draft Bill, key consumer rights will be consolidated into one place, rather than spread across numerous pieces of legislation as it stands now. 

The Bill proposes a set 30-day time period in which consumers can reject faulty goods and get a full refund. Currently there is no set time in which to reject a faulty product.

Beyond 30 days, people will also have the right to get money back after one failed repair to their faulty goods, or if a replacement breaks.

Digital downloads

In addition, the Bill will bring existing law into the modern age by including new rights on faulty digital products. 

BIS reports that over 16 million people experienced at least one problem with digital content in 2011. 

Under the Consumer Rights Bill you’ll now have the right to a repair or replacement on faulty digital products, and if the digital product proves unfixable, you’ll be entitled to a refund or reduction in price.

Find out what you can do currently to get a refund on a digital download.

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