What do I need to know about the Consumer Rights Act 2015?
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 stretches to over 100 pages, meaning it is a lot of information for a business owner to absorb. The basic rights a consumer has under the Act are as follows:
- If a customer has bought goods from you and they are faulty, they have a right to have them repaired or ask for a full refund if they return them within 30 days. You cannot pass liability on to the manufacturer of the goods, as the contract was between you and the customer.
- After 30 days, a customer is entitled to have the faulty goods repaired or replaced. You have one chance to make a repair; if the goods are still faulty, the client can ask for a full refund.
- After six months, a customer still has a right to ask for a repair or a replacement. However, you will be able to deduct some money for the use the consumer has had out of the goods. If the product is a car, you can deduct money after just a month of use.
Should I have a set of Terms and Conditions drafted to protect my interests?
Absolutely. Although you cannot contract out of consumer legislation, having a robust set of terms and conditions which set out how you operate in trade is essential for all businesses, from the biggest multi-national to a freelancer.
We can assist you with drafting a comprehensive set of terms and conditions that truly reflect your unique operation. We will not simply use an ‘off-the-shelf’ template; we will take the time to understand your enterprise and customers and put together a robust set of Ts and Cs which you can be confident in.
What are the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations 2015?
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2015 operate to protect consumers who purchase goods from a ‘distance’. These days, this usually means online. If you are selling goods online, under the regulations, you must ensure the consumer receives the same information about the product as they would have if they purchased it in-store. The Regulations (reg 13(1)) provide that the information below must be provided in a clear and comprehensible way if that information is not already apparent from the context, and it must be provided in a way appropriate to the means of distance communication used.
A consumer has a right to cancel any goods bought online within 14 days, and they are not required to provide a reason if they cancel during this time. However, under reg 28, the following goods and services are excluded:
- goods or services where price depends on fluctuations in financial markets (except domestic water, gas, and electricity)
- bespoke or personalised goods
- goods which are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly
- alcoholic beverages under certain circumstances
- contracts where the consumer has specifically requested a visit from the trader to carry out urgent repair or maintenance
- newspapers, periodicals, and magazines excluding subscriptions
- contracts concluded at public auction (this does not include selling goods on eBay), or
- accommodation, transport of goods, vehicle rental services, catering or services related to leisure activities, if the contract provides for a specific date or period of performance
Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, a trader must deliver goods within 30 days of an online purchase, unless an alternative delivery period has been agreed.
What are the consequences of not complying with consumer law?
The consequences of not complying with consumer law can extend far beyond simply being taken to the Small Claims Court. With online reviews such as Google and TripAdvisor now ubiquitous, your professional reputation could be severely damaged if a lack of information means you have failed in your compliance obligations. In addition, depending on your industry, you may face sanctions from regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority or even criminal proceedings.
Our commercial and civil litigation lawyers can provide up-to-date advice on your obligations under consumer law and represent you if you are taken to court or are asked to appear before a disciplinary tribunal.