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the Queen’s Speech - new rights for consumers?

10 May 2013

It was announced in the Queen’s speech that the Government intends to enact a new Consumer Rights Act.

This act will:

  1. Expressly cover digital content, including music, films and e-books. Consumers will have rights to compensation if they purchase content which is inaccessible or repeatedly freezes.
  2. Consolidate consumer rights in one place. Consumer law is currently spread across more than 10 acts and regulations, which arguably makes it difficult for consumers to know their rights.
  3. Trading standards officers will be given new powers to require businesses to compensate consumers. We anticipate this will make complaints to Trading Standards more frequent.
  4. Implement recent EU directives, which are intended to harmonise consumer law across the EU.

Clarification on the status of digital content is welcomed, but it remains to be seen if other changes will truly help consumers, or will simply place new burdens on businesses.

We will provide further updates when the act is published in draft form later this year.

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