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Five upcoming changes to consumer rights law

New Consumer Rights Act to be enforced in less than a month


There’s less than a month to go until the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 comes into force. 

The act becomes law on 1 October 2015 and is seeking to ‘simplify, strengthen and modernise’ UK consumer legislation.

It’s being billed as the biggest shake-up in consumer rights law in a generation, bringing together several pieces of legislation into one. 

The three big pieces of consumer legislation to be replaced by the act are the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Supply of Goods and Services Act.

The changes will also introduce clearer remedies and timeframes for you to claim a refund, repair or replacement on faulty or unsatisfactory goods and poor services.

The new legislation also sets out – for the very first time – your rights when you purchase digital content. We’ve identified five of the biggest imminent changes to consumer law that you can look forward to.

And, if you want to find out more we’ve produced a guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

1. Digital rights

The Consumer Rights Act defines digital content as ‘data which are produced and supplied in digital form.’

The new law applies to any digital content which is paid for, digital content supplied free with other paid-for items or digital content supplied on a physical medium, like a DVD.

It is also made clear that you will now be compensated if any device or other digital content you own is damaged as a result of the dodgy digital content you’ve downloaded.

2. 30-day right to ‘reject’

A specific timeframe has been created in which you can reject a faulty item and get a full refund – now 30 days from the date you purchase the product.

Previously this had not been a specific timeframe but was described as a ‘reasonable time’. The new Consumer Rights Act now gives clarity on this.

However, this right doesn’t apply to digital content.

3. A ‘tiered’ remedy system

A ‘tiered’ remedy system will also be in place for faulty goods, digital content and services, clearly setting out your rights to a refund, repair or replacement. 

This means that your right to a refund will depend on how long you’ve owned the product or the nature of the service you’ve received. 

Further to this, no deduction can be made from a refund in the first six months after purchase – with the only exception being motor vehicles.

4. Clearer contracts

The new rules will also make it easier to challenge hidden fees and charges in consumer contracts. 

The act requires the main elements of the contract – including the price and any other charges – to be brought to your attention. Previously these terms were only required to be legible – if you could find them at all.

Over-promising salesmen will also have to be careful as the Consumer Rights Act states that if any additional pre-contract information is given and you take it into account when purchasing, then the product or service must comply with that information.

5. Greater transparency

Part three of the Consumer Rights Act came into force a little earlier this year, covering transparency in letting agent fees and the secondary ticket market.

Lettings agents must clearly publicise a full tariff of their fees both on their websites and prominently in their offices. 

Chapter five of the Consumer Rights Act also requires secondary ticketing sites, like StubHub, Viagogo, Seatwave and Get Me In to state the face value of tickets being resold – often for a much higher price.

The companies will also need to make it clear if there are any problems with sight-lines and if seats listed together are actually next to each other.

Importantly, these secondary ticket websites will also have to carry an email address for buyers in case problems arise with the tickets.

More on this…

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