Helen Dewdney, blogger and consumer rights campaigner from The Complaining Cow and author of Amazon bestseller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! previously wrote a blog post on 6 ways to protect your consumer rights.
Here she explains the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 which comes into force on the 1st of October this year. Know your rights and make sure you are not fobbed off!
Consumer Rights Act 2015
1) For purchases, services and contracts made on or after the 1st of October this year you are covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. For those before this date you are covered by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 amended to Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994), Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982, Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and you should continue to quote this even after the 1st October.
2) Items should be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, as described, free from defects and be durable and last a reasonable length of time. Where they have been installed as part of the contract they should be installed correctly.
Reject and get a refund
3) From the 1st October 2015 you can reject goods that do not meet this criteria and insist upon a full refund (or repair or replacement) up to 30 days after purchase. After this time the retailer can insist on repair or replacement. This includes bespoke items but not perishable goods, you wouldn’t expect a bunch of flowers to last 30 days!
It’s gone digital
4) The new Act now covers digital goods. This includes items such as downloads, computer games, mobile phone apps, systems software for operating goods etc.
5) Up to 6 months after purchase the retailer has to prove that the defect was not there at point of purchase, e.g. prove that it was misuse that caused the problem in order not to give you a refund, replacement or repair. After 6 months the onus is on you to prove that the fault was there at point of purchase or delivery, bearing in mind that some defects do not become apparent until sometime after delivery.
6) You have up to 6 years to complain if it is expected that the item should have lasted that long. For example, if your washing machine packs up after 4 years you should be entitled to redress as one would expect a washing machine to last longer than 4 years. However, if you have been putting on 3 loads every day for 4 years then you would have more of a difficult task in proving that it should have lasted longer.
Skill and care
7) All services should be carried out; with reasonable skill and care, with information given verbally or in writing to you which is binding when you rely on it, for a reasonable price (if no fixed price is set in advance) and in a reasonable time (if no specific time was agreed).
8) A contract is formed when you buy a service from a trader and both parties enter into a contract that is legally binding. Terms given to you after a contract is made do not form part of the contract and they have no effect.
Get it in writing
9) A contract can be verbal or in writing but it is always advisable to have a contract in writing to avoid disputes later.
Get a fair contract
10) If a contract sways the rights and responsibilities in favour of the trader it would be considered an unfair contract under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. From a consumer’s point of view, the cover is no different to the current situation.
So there you have it. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is there to protect you as a consumer.
Read the above and remember them as they might just come in handy at some point.
Additionally, if you have a grip with a certain company and are having trouble getting hold of their contact details, check out Consumer Connect which is a fantastic resource for business numbers that may be difficult to find on the company’s website.