The UK’s new Consumer Rights Act 2015, which came into force on 1 October 2015, consolidated UK consumer law in several ways. Of particular interest is the new regime regarding digital content.Suppliers and developers must now ensure that digital content paid for meets certain standards, such as being of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. In the event of non-conformity, consumers now have a right of repair or replacement within a reasonable time and, where this is impossible or has not been done so within a reasonable time, the right to a refund on some or all of the price paid. There is now also a special remedy of repair or compensation where the digital content causes damage to a device or to other digital content and would not have occurred had the trader exercised reasonable care and skill.
In this context “paid for” includes content 1) supplied under a contract, 2) supplied free of charge with goods or services which are paid for (such as software to access a paid-for streaming service), and 3) which is not generally available to consumers unless they have paid for it (which includes products with content pre-loaded on goods like phones, tablets and smart TVs).
Content developers and suppliers will therefore need to review how their content is described, their terms and conditions of sale and their refund policies to ensure compliance with the Act.