The Consumer Rights Act 2015

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The main parts of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 come into force today – the 1st of October 2015.

The Consumer Rights Act replaces a number of laws with regard to business-to-consumer transactions, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

The Act is a part of the Government’s reform of the UK’s consumer landscape which aims to make it easier for consumers to understand and access their key rights, including:

  • The right to clear and honest information before you buy;
  • The right to get what you pay for;
  • The right to goods and digital content being fit for purpose, and services being performed with reasonable care and skill; and
  • The right that faults in what you buy will be put right free of charge or a refund or replacement provided.

There are some important changes, for instance if a consumer buys second hand goods from a business they now have the same rights as if they were buying brand new products. Consumers have 30 days to demand a replacement or full refund for a faulty item.

There are some areas which will be uncomfortable for sellers of digital products, if a download doesn’t work the retailer won’t have to refund, but they will have to make a replacement available – you can just imagine the tech support calls this might entail when a consumer’s device is at fault! Additionally (and perhaps more worryingly), if the download “causes damage to a device or to other digital content” (intended to be if it contains a virus) then the retailer is liable to paying compensation to get the virus removed. Again proving that it wasn’t your download which caused the issue could be problematic.

Introduced in July this year, Alternative Dispute Resolution providers are now available to help as a quicker and cheaper alternative to going through the courts.

The new legislation also opens the door for “collective proceedings” – US style Class Actions – where one person sues and everyone else affected is automatically included in the same case. Look out for the first UK case, possibly against a utility company or a train company that persistently runs late, although I suspect that sooner or later someone will decide to sue eBay as they’re a classic target for such law suits in the US.

As a retailer you will want to read the new legislation in full. There are countless overviews online and on Tamebay we’ll be looking more deeply at sections of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 over the coming weeks.

4 Responses

  1. True say, many ought to sue eBay over all therubbish which they put sellers through and at the same time pinching more and more in fees

  2. Of course consumers should be protected from the dodgy and dishonest . The danger is when honest and fair traders get hobbled and restricted by rampant do gooders litigating for fun and recreation

  3. Dont forget compliance costs money, It seems we spend most of our life dealing with some official ,form ,agency or authority
    And less time actually trading ,

  4. eBay/Amazon sellers are highly unlikely to find themselves dealing with the Consumer Rights Act directly as both marketplaces incorporate current legal requirements into the terms under which they allow people to buy and sell.

    Indeed, both eBay and Amazon go beyond the minimum legal requirements (often to the annoyance of both sellers and buyers).

    Court cases arising originally from an Amazon/eBay dispute are rare indeed.



The Consumer Rights Act 2015: Unfair Contract Terms


The Consumer Rights Act 2015: Services


The Consumer Rights Act 2015: 2nd Hand Goods


The Consumer Rights Act 2015: Digital Content


The Consumer Rights Act 2015: 30 day refund

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