The Consumer Rights Act 2015 made significant changes to the rights and obligations of parties in business to consumer contracts. For more information in relation to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 generally, including the definition of consumer, pleaseclick here

In relation to building contracts specifically, we are mainly concerned with the changes to the supply of goods and services legislation. The differences between the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (SGSA)/Sale of Goods Act 1979 (SGA) and the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) are as follows:

  1. Chapter 2 of the CRA (provisions relating to goods) relate to goods supplied under a services contract and/or a sales contract. This simplifies the previous position which split the two between the SGSA and the SGA.
  2. Contracts for goods that are manufactured/produced and then supplied to the customer are sales contracts, and not service contracts.
  3. The rules from the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) in relation to the contractual status of pre-contract information provided to the consumer are now implemented into English Law.
  4. The trader is contractually liable for any statements which it makes voluntarily (either about the service or the trader) and which are taken into account by the consumer. The consumer does not have to prove that such statements form part of its contract; traders will now have to be very careful what they are promising their customers.
  5. The remedies available to a consumer have changed in relation to the implied terms of reasonable skill and care and performance within a reasonable time:
    1. If the trader is in breach of its obligation to perform with reasonable skill and care or has not complied with information it has provided about the service, the consumer will have a new statutory right to repeat performance. The trader must bear any necessary costs incurred in doing so (including in particular the cost of any labour or materials). If this is impossible or not done properly, a price reduction will be required.

    2. If a service is not performed within a reasonable time or in line with information provided concerning the trader, the consumer will have a new right to a price reduction. This must be an “appropriate amount” and can amount to a full refund, depending on the circumstances.

  6. The CRA introduced bans in relation to the following clauses:

    1. exclusion of liability for failure to perform a service with reasonable care and skill;

    2. exclusion of liability for failure to perform a service in accordance with information provided by the trader about the trader or the service; and

    3. limitation of liability for less than the price paid.

  7. The language used, although carried over from the SGSA, has been modernised so that it reflects European legislation and is easier to understand.

  8. Businesses are no longer protected in any way by consumer rights.

Please click here for further information in relation to building contractual disputes generally.