A new Consumer Rights Act, which will streamline key consumer rights covering contracts for goods, services, digital content and the law relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts into one place, has received Royal Assent. The Act is expected to come into force on 1 October 2015.

The Consumer Rights Act replaces eight existing laws, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

Under the Act consumers will have the right to:

  • get some money back after one failed repair of faulty goods (or one faulty replacement);
  • demand that substandard services are redone or failing that get a price reduction; and
  • get a repair or a replacement of faulty digital content such as film and music downloads, online games and e-books.

The Act introduces a set 30 day time period during which consumers can return faulty goods and get a full refund and clarifies when terms and conditions can be considered unfair.

The Act also makes a number of important changes to the UK competition regime to give private parties, in particular small and medium sized enterprises and consumers, the necessary tools to enforce competition law through private class actions on an “opt out” basis and to provide effective redress for loss caused by anti-competitive behaviour.

Our Competition, Regulation and Trade team has produced an e-bulletin on the new competition law provisions in the Act, which is available here.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is available on the legislation.gov.uk website.