Legislation Update - Consumer Rights Act 2015
Thursday, 1st October 2015
Consumer Rights Act 2015
You may be aware that there has recently been a change to consumer the law in the UK. On the 1st October the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force. This replaces the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and also makes changes that affect suppliers of services from dry cleaners to builders and everyone in between.
A summary of the main points is as follows:
- The law applies to all business to consumer contracts
Contracts for goods and installed goods:
- Where you supply goods or you supply goods and install them, consumers have the right to a full refund within 30 days if the goods are faulty, not as described or not installed properly. If they prefer, they can opt for a repair or replacement. It is up to you to decide whether a repair or a replacement of the goods is the most cost-effective remedy.
- After 30 days (And within 5 years), consumers have the right to a repair or replacement of goods that were faulty or not as described at the time of sale/installation. This right also extends to goods that have not lasted as long as they are supposed to (Durability).
- Within the first 6 months it is for you to prove that the fault is not inherent in the product, but is due to misuse or some other non-manufacturing defect. After 6 months, the consumer must prove that the goods are inherently faulty.
- If you carried out a repair or replacement and it is not effective, consumers are entitled to a refund, minus the amount of good use they have had. Consumers now only have to accept one attempt at a repair or replacement before they can claim a refund.
- Consumers are entitled to reasonable consequential losses. Examples include the cost of return postage and the cost of any temporary solutions while the item is faulty (Eg. hire costs).
- Digital content is now included within the law, and the remedies for faulty goods (outlined above), apply in a similar way. Digital content includes any software on a device, such as smart heating systems. If the software is faulty then the whole item is considered to be faulty.
- Once any refund is agreed, this must be paid within 14 days using the original payment method, unless the consumer agrees to another method.
- Contracts must be carried out with reasonable care and skill.
- Anything you say in advertisements or directly to the consumer can become part of the contract.
- Services should be performed when stated or within a reasonable time if not already agreed.
- Where a service has not been carried out properly, consumers are entitled to a price reduction (Which could be a full refund) or a repeat performance. They may also be able to claim for other expenses incurred (Consequential losses).
- In reality, many contracts will be classed as mixed contracts (Including both goods and services), meaning that consumers could rely on the remedies under either goods, services, or both; as detailed above.
Consumer guarantees and warranties:
- Any free guarantee or warranty you provide is part of the contract. You must make it clear that this is in addition to their rights detailed above, not instead of. Consumers do not have to claim under the guarantee or warranty if they do not want to.
- Guarantees/warranties should be given in plain English; explain what is covered and what is not covered by it; how to make a claim; where to make a claim; and its territorial scope (Eg. If it only applies to the UK). The guarantee must be given in writing, where requested.
The above information is a very brief guide to the main requirements of the new law, it is not a legally authoritative interpretation.
There are many nuances that aren’t covered here. If you want any further guidance, please visit www.businesscompanion.info or contact Dumfries and GallowayTrading Standards on 0303 333 3000.