Last December we reported on progress of the Consumer Rights Bill through Parliament. The Bill spent quite a while in the “ping-pong” stage whilst the Commons debated the Lords’ amendments on secondary ticketing. Eventually agreement was reached on those provisions and the Bill received Royal Assent on 26 March, just before Parliament ended for the run-up to the General Election.

The main provisions of the Consumer Rights Act come into force on 1 October. 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. As an example, 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. The Act also introduces completely new provisions relating to the supply of digital content. Finally, the legislation covers consumer law enforcement powers and reforms the UK regime for private actions for breaches of competition law.

The Trading Standards Institute Business Companion website has published four “In depth Guides” for business to understand the Act, one each on the sales and supply of goods, the supply of services, digital content and unfair terms. In addition, the Competition and Markets Authority has consulted on guidance on unfair terms and will publish that in its final form shortly together with guidance on the private actions elements of the Act. The Citizens Advice website at present just contains an outline for consumers of what the Act covers but will be updated in time for the implementation date of 1 October.