John Szepietowski and Kay Stewart Review the Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 ( ‘the Act’) was created to govern the sale of goods, services, and digital content on and after 1st October 2015. The Act, which evolved out of similar outdated legislation, focuses on a consumer’s rights and the remedies available to them in relation to the purchasing of goods, digital content, and services. Furthermore, the Act defines unfair contract terms and reforms the consumer enforcement powers and private actions in competition law. The updated legislation provides a broader scope of protection for consumers in terms of who and what is covered.

The Act develops the protection provided by the Sale of Goods Act 1979, by expanding on the requirements of goods sold. The Act introduces a further requirement that goods sold must correspond to any model shown to the consumer. For example, if a customer is shown a product in the showroom, and purchases one to order, then the customer must receive the correlating product. The supplier of the good may forewarn the consumer of any change providing the option for the consumer to agree to proceed or to rescind their order.

Furthermore, the Act provides the consumer with a short term ‘right to reject’ any defective goods which enables the consumer to return the goods within thirty days from the date of delivery. If the consumer wishes, they may instead request the defective good be replaced or repaired. The request should be made within thirty days of the defective good being delivered and the product should be returned within a reasonable time.

Quite frequently, goods or services relate to digital content such as music downloads or purchasing apps on mobile devices. The Act does not constrain digital content to agreements for purchase, it includes licensable and downloaded content that fails to be either ‘goods’ or ‘services’, however, does not provide complete protection for free digital content.

Similar to goods, digital content must be fit for purpose, of satisfactory quality, and as advertised. If the content fails to meet these requirements, a consumer can request the content be replaced or, if possible, replaced within a reasonable time. The consumer is entitled to a partial or full refund, however, does not have the right to reject the digital content. If the consumer’s device was damaged due to the digital content, such as in the event of a computer virus, the consumer has the right to claim compensation.

The Act clarifies that a contract for services should be upheld to the statutory requirements that the services must be performed with reasonable care and skill. The Act takes the approach of assessing the course of the services provided rather than the finished product. In the event a service is not provided within a reasonable time or carried out with reasonable care and skill, the consumer may request a price reduction or for the services to be carried out again at the supplier’s expense.

The Act has continued to provide protection to consumers, however, has its shortcomings. The Act omits to adequately define both ‘reasonable’ and ‘services’, leaving scope for external bodies to provide guidance.

Please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer for details on this matter or any other legal topic


Related News