Many consumers will have noticed the introduction of charges for carrier bags when they visited the supermarket this week. With the excitement surrounding carrier bags, consumers might have missed another significant milestone: that October has also brought the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
The Consumer Rights Act came into force on 1 October and applies to contracts between a business and a consumer, whether individually negotiated or on standard terms. It has been described as the “biggest overhaul of consumer rights in a generation”. The Act is mostly a consolidation of consumer law relating to the sale of goods, supply of services and unfair contract terms but there are some changes, particularly in relation to remedies.
Significantly, however, for the first time there will be clear rules for what should happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill or as agreed: the business that provided the service must bring it into line with what was agreed with the customer or, if this is not practical, must give some money back. Recent Press coverage has also picked up on the introduction of the short term right, 30 days from delivery/installation, to reject faulty goods. In addition, the Act introduces completely new provisions relating to the supply of digital content bringing legislation in line with the fact many people now buy online.Finally, the legislation covers consumer law enforcement powers and reforms the UK regime for private actions for breaches of competition law.