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The Consumer Rights Act 2015 – Are you ready?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) is to come into force on 1st October 2015.  This will amend and consolidation existing Consumer Protection legislation such as the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

The CRA provides procedures when a product is defective or substandard goods and services are provided by a Trader to a consumer (a Company cannot be a consumer) by way of a contract, hire or hire purchase.

In summary:-

Goods A consumer has 30 days after purchase to reject substandard goods.  Thereafter any defects that appear within 6 months of the time of purchase are implied to be defective when purchased and the seller is to repair or replace the product.

Services  The services are to be carried out with reasonable care and skill, for a reasonable price and within a reasonable time.  The services must be carried out to a competent level.  If the service provided breaches the above requirements, the services must be re done or the price reduced.

The CRA also provides a procedure for digital services which means that digital content must be satisfactory and the remedies include the right to repair or replacement or a price reduction.  In some cases a refund should be provided.  A consumer cannot be liable for the Trader breaching copy-write.

All contractual terms must be “fair, transparent and prominent” and the consumer must be made aware of pre-contractual statements for example in advertising because part of the contract terms will work with the seller/service provider to avoid and oppose conflict.

The seller/service provider must also inform the consumer that any dispute with the consumer can be dealt with through an alternative dispute resolution procedure which could be in the form of a complaints procedure (e.g. eBay), mediation, adjudication or Ombudsman.

If the dispute is not resolved the consumer can ultimately seek a remedy from the Court.

The obligation under the CRA cannot be excluded or restricted and extended warranties do not diminish but add to statutory rights under the CRA.

It is appropriate that sellers/service providers revisit their contracts to ensure they comply with the CRA. 

Please consult Sarah Thomsen for professional legal advice.

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