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Consumer Rights Act 2015 - in force from 1 October 2015

1 October 2015
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) received Royal Assent on 26 March 2015 and is now in force (1 October 2015). It is intended to consolidate a number of disparate sections of consumer law within one piece of legislation, but it also adds a few additional new remedies for consumers.

The key changes to the pre-1st October 2015 consumer law, relating to goods, services and digital content - are the following:

Goods – Main Changes

Under the CRA, goods must now match any model “seen or examined”. The scope of this obligation appears to extend to (for example), televisions needing to match models demonstrated on the shop floor to a consumer.

The CRA also sets out that where installation is provided as part of the contract for goods (for example, installing a television), and the installation is defective, then the consumer also has the right to rejection, repair, replacement or price reduction in relation to the goods installed.

Services – Main Changes

Where a trader provides information about itself, or about the service it provides, if the consumer relies upon this information, then the service must comply with that information. This may be particularly relevant where a trader confirms that they have certain expertise, as the person the trader then provides to carry out the service must also have the expertise as stated.

Digital Content - New Provisions

The CRA provides consumers with additional remedies in respect of defective digital content, which is a substantial change to previous law. Where digital content is defective, the entire product will be deemed defective and the remedies including: rejection repair or replacement, will be available to the consumer.

Key Issues for Retail

Prior to the CRA, the consumer could reject the goods “within a reasonable period” if the goods were defective. The CRA has confirmed that this “reasonable period” is 30 days. Therefore (in the majority of cases), where the goods or services are defective, a consumer’s remedies are as follows:

  • Right to reject the goods or services and obtain a refund within 30 days of purchase or installation; or
  • request that the trader repairs or replaces the defective goods (or service); and then
  • if after the first instance of repair or replacement by the trader, the goods are still defective, the consumer may finally reject the goods (or service), or request a price reduction from the trader to reflect the loss in value in the goods or services.

If a defect arises with goods (or services) within the first 6 months after purchase or installation, there is a rebuttable presumption that the goods or services were defective at the date of purchase or installation.

Where a consumer requests that the goods or services are repaired or replaced, the 30 day period for rejection is ‘paused’ (as long as it has not already passed).

Retail brands will need to ensure that their online terms of sale, particularly online are amended in light of this new legislation, and they may additionally like to consider providing their sales managers with a ‘cheat sheet’ containing the main obligations, so as to ensure that they act within the bounds of the new legislation at all times.

Please feel free to contact Alex Watt or Caroline Green if you would like to discuss any issues regarding the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

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