The Consumer Rights Act 2015 received Royal Assent on 26th March 2015 and will go into force on 1st October 2015.
Over the coming decade, the act is expected to raise the economy an additional £4 billion by streamlining eight disparate pieces of legislation into one cohesive piece. The act, labelled by the government as the biggest overhaul of consumer rights in a generation, introduces new consumer protection rights.
These new consumer rights are composed of five major changes:
- Digital content (e.g. online films, games, music downloads and e-books) that is found to be faulty will be able to be repaired or replaced.
- Consumers will be able to request that ‘substandard’ services be redone, or—if an agreement cannot be reached—they are awarded price reductions for substandard service.
- A 30-day window will be introduced for consumers to return faulty goods and receive full refunds.
- If the repair of a faulty product is unsuccessful, or if the replacement is found to be faulty, the consumer—even if more than 30 days have elapsed—is entitled to some compensation.
- Terms and conditions that are found to be unfair or hidden within the small print of a contract will be able to be challenged by consumers.
In addition to the five consumer rights amendments, the act includes two amendments that directly benefit businesses:
- Public enforcers must provide 48 hours’ notice to businesses when they plan to carry out routine inspections, although they will still be able conduct surprise inspections if they suspect illegal activity.
- Businesses that are at a competitive disadvantage from breaches in competition law will be offered fast, low-cost remedies.
The act’s seven amendments will require businesses in every industry to change the way they operate. It puts a greater emphasis on businesses to produce and sell high-quality products, make lasting repairs and increase the transparency of their businesses with consumers. For more detailed information, visit www.gov.uk/government/news/biggest-overhaul-of-consumer-rights-in-a-generation.