On 1 October 2015 the main provisions of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) came into force. The CRA reforms a large body of consumer law in the UK, and broadly speaking applies to businesses of all kinds - including surveyors, valuers and other property professionals – in relation to their dealings with consumers (a term which is limited to individuals acting wholly or mainly for non- business purposes, but which will encompass even very sophisticated, high net-worth private individuals). A number of key changes are introduced by the CRA. These include the following, amongst others:

  • Information provided to a consumer client about the service and/or the firm, on which the client relies in entering into the retainer with the firm or in making decisions about the service afterwards, will now become a term of the contract of retainer unless the information is qualified appropriately
  • New consumer remedies are introduced for breach of the statutory implied terms in relation to the supply of services. For example, if a service is not performed with reasonable care and skill or is not performed in accordance with information provided about the service upon which the client has relied, the client will be entitled to require repeat performance of the service or, if this is impossible or is not done within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer, a price reduction. These are in addition to existing remedies available at common law and in equity, although a consumer is not entitled to recover twice in respect of the same loss
  • Changes to the law on unfair terms insofar as relate to consumers, including the application of the test of fairness previously found in the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 to all terms in contracts with consumers, whether individually negotiated or not, and to communications which do not become contractual terms as such but are nevertheless deemed “contractual notices”