The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the Act) comes into force on 01 October 2015, introducing a number of significant changes to consumer law. Is your business ready to meet the new requirements of the Act?
We will be delivering a Webinar in September which will explain the new Act and what you need to do to get your business ready. In the meantime, here are the main changes.
What does the Act do?
Here are the 10 most important changes that will be brought in by the Act in October:
Widened scope of who is a ‘consumer’
Now a consumer will include individuals who enter into contracts for a mixture of business and personal reasons.
New ‘tiered’ remedies for faulty goods including an early right to reject within 30 days, repair or replacement and a final right to reject and/or a price reduction.
New remedies for consumers in relation to provision of services of re-performance and price reduction.
Voluntary statements about services are binding
Under the Act anything written or said about a trader or their service which a consumer considers when entering into a contract for services will be treated as a term of the contract.
Formal regulation of the provision of digital content which consumers pay for AND digital content which comes free with goods, services or paid-for digital content.
Digital content will be treated largely the same as tangible goods in terms of the quality standards that traders have to meet.
Remedies for faulty digital content
The consumer has a right to a refund for failure to provide the digital content. For other breaches the consumer has a right to repair or replacement or if neither is possible, the right to a price reduction (up to the full amount of the price). Consumers will also have certain remedies where digital content causes damage to a device or other digital content of the consumer.
The Act introduces measures making it easier for small businesses and consumers to get redress for breaches of competition law.
New requirement for ‘prominence’ of relevant terms
Terms relating to the subject matter or price of the contract must be transparent (plain and intelligible language) and prominent (brought to consumer’s attention).
Inclusion of notices
All written and oral consumer notices (for example marketing communications) will need to meet the Act’s requirements of fairness and transparency. If they do not, they will not be binding on the consumer.
Grey list extended
The list of indicative terms which may be regarded as being unfair has been extended under the Act to include terms which have the object or effect of allowing the trader to decide the characteristics of the subject matter or the price after the consumer is bound or requiring the consumer to pay disproprortionately high charges when it decides not to conclude or perform the contract or when the service has not been supplied.
For more information on these changes and more detail on the Act please click here.
What do you need to do?
Look at your consumer facing documents, procedures and policies and make sure they are compliant. For example:
- Terms and conditions
- Notices (inc marketing communications)
- Policies on returns, refunds and other remedies.
Some of the new rights and remedies for consumers introduced by the Act cannot be excluded or restricted so it is important that you do not inadvertently infringe any consumer rights through your contracts and notices with them.