More protection for consumers
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) came into force on 1 October 2015. Philip Kerridge comments “One of the intentions of CRA is to consolidate consumer legislation into one piece of legislation. CRA pulls together various provisions from over eight different pieces of legislation, which governed consumer rights pre-October 2015. CRA also updates consumer rights to address growth in e-commerce and in the digital content market. The standards of supply have not changed. Services must be provided with reasonable care and skill, and in reasonable time. Goods must still be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and correspond with a description and a sample”.
Digital content is generally subject to the same rights as goods. The obligation under CRA is to provide digital content to the same standard, as if providing goods, and covers digital content which is purchased but digital content which is given away for free with goods or services which are paid for. CRA also sets out a compensation mechanism if, for example, digital content contains a virus which damages the consumer’s computer”.
Phillip adds “ A consumer who has purchased faulty goods has 30 days to reject the goods and the right to a full refund. After the 30 day period, the consumer will have the right to request either a repair or a replacement, unless either or both are impossible or disproportionate for the trader. If repair or replacement is impossible or disproportionate, or if the trader fails to carry out the repair or replacement within a reasonable amount of time, the consumer will be able to either claim an appropriate price reduction (if they wish to keep the goods) or claim a “final right to reject”.
If a consumer claims a “final right to reject” within the first six months from the date of purchase then (unless the goods in question are a motor vehicle) a full refund must be given. If the final right to reject falls outside of the initial six month period then it may be possible for a trader to make an appropriate price reduction, on the basis that the consumer has had some use from the goods. However, for digital content, a consumer will not have the “short term right to reject” but can seek a repair or replacement, unless either is impossible, disproportionate or not carried out within a reasonable period of time, in which case the consumer will have a right to a price reduction and potentially, a full refund”.
Peter Hastings comments on the new regulations on Unfair Terms “The rules on unfair terms remain generally the same. They rules now apply to consumer notices in addition to the contract and general marketing materials are subject to a fairness test. CRA provides that written terms must be transparent and prominent. The prominence aspect is a new requirement (although not new for example in finance advertising under the FCA Rules and Regulations and Consumer Credit Sourcebook (CONC).
We recommend that businesses review their contracts to ensure that the consumer’s attention is drawn to key terms and that such terms ensure the consumer to understand their rights. This applies particularly to any terms on price or subject matter, which are exempt from the fairness test only if they are both transparent and prominent.”
Peter and Phil have already advised local businesses and national companies on the The Consumer Rights Act 2015 in addition to advising on Compliance issues with the Financial Conduct Authority (especially on advertising, mis-selling and CONC), claims to the Financial Ombudsman Service and Trading Standards.