Coming Very Soon – The Consumer Rights Act 2015

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The coming into force of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (‘the CRA’) on 1 October 2015 is now less than two weeks away and businesses are encouraged to prepare themselves for what this means.

The CRA will consolidate and update some of the existing consumer legislation involving the sale of goods, supply of services and unfair terms in consumer contracts.  The law under the CRA is designed to be clearer and easier to understand and is designed to help consumers and businesses avoid disputes and is the latest in a string of new pieces of consumer protection legislation, following the implementation of:

  • The Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012;
  • The Consumer Protection (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013; and
  • The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

Whilst most of the changes implemented by the CRA are updates to existing laws, there are two new areas of law in that:

  1. it will be the first time that rights on digital content will be set out in legislation; and
  2. for the first time there are clear rules on what should happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill as agreed.

The Sale of Goods (Including Digital Content)

With clear ‘rights to reject’, the CRA now makes it clear what should happen and what consumers may do when goods are faulty. There is also separate provision within the CRA, stating what should happen and what consumers may do when digital content (e.g. online films, games and e-books) is faulty also, acknowledging the changing nature of commerce in the digital sphere.

Where consumers wish to exercise their rights, there are clear remedies available and defined timescales as to when these must be exercised. With regards to the sale of goods, the CRA also updates the position on delivery (i.e. when this must be made by the business) and risk (i.e. when this shall pass from the business to the consumer).

The Supply of Services

Whilst the existing duties of a business under the current legislation are retained, the CRA covers how services should match up to what has been agreed, and what should happen when they do not or when they have not been provided with the use of reasonable care and skill by a business.

Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts

Existing legislation has been repealed by the CRA such that this is now the only piece of legislation applicable to business to consumer contracts with regards to unfair terms. The CRA extends the definition of consumer and sets out a list of clauses which are presumed to be unfair.

Do I Take Action?

To ensure compliance with the CRA, the changes mean that consumer facing businesses would be well advised to review their:

  • sales contracts, terms and conditions, standard website and app terms (where applicable);
  • pre-contractual information; and
  • cancellations and returns policies,

as there shall be greater flexibility for public enforcers such as Trading Standards to respond to calls of breaches of consumer legislation. This therefore includes the other pieces of newly implemented consumer legislation mentioned above and is not limited to the CRA.

All contracts entered into before 1 October 2015 shall remain subject to the provisions of existing legislation; however, if you would like to take action to ready your business then now is the best time to do so.

If you have any specific queries on the effects of the CRA, would like us to implement new trading terms or update your existing terms so as to accord with the provisions of the CRA then please feel free to contact me via email at john.pickervance@forbessolicitors.co.uk, via our Contact Form or by calling on 0800 689 3206.

This entry was posted in Corporate & Restructuring.

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