The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the Act) comes into force on 1 October 2015. It is at the heart of a consumer law reform package which aims to clarify, improve and consolidate consumer rights. The Act replaces much of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and the consumer rights contained in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.  It is of particular interest to data protection practitioners as for the first time the law specifically includes "notices" and will therefore apply to privacy notices and policies.

This month the CMA's detailed edition of guidance on consumer rights was finalised and the updated version by the CMA now takes into account the legislative changes brought about by the Act.

There are two data protection points of note in the Guidance: There is guidance on the new category of product termed'digital content', separate from goods and services. The guidance further notes the number of new remedies now available to consumers relating to digital content pending a breach of certain rights. Examples include the right to a price reduction where the service provided was not carried out with reasonable care or skill or the right to compensation where, for instance, digital content purchased caused damage to the consumer's device.

The CMA advises that if the digital content was "supplied in return for something other than money – for instance where a consumer gives the trader access to their personal data… the consumer does not enjoy the rights and remedies set out in Part 1 of the Act, except where damage has been caused by the digital content supplied".

The second data protection point is that the CMA specifically mentions privacy policies in its section on "binding consumers to hidden terms".  Terms that automatically bind a consumer to the terms of a privacy policy that they have not seen, are liable to challenge.

To view the CMA's Unfair contract terms guidance on the provisions in the Consumer Rights Act 2015, please click here.