Consumer: A new legal landscape for consumer rights

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 deals with issues like refunds and new digital products.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 deals with issues like refunds and new digital products.
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A new Consumer Rights Act – which covers everything from faulty toasters to digital downloads – comes into force next month.

The legislation, which comes into effect on October 1, focuses not only traditional goods and services but also extends it to new media like apps.

The aim of the new law is to make it easier for customers to understand and access their key rights.

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A government briefing document highlights four key changes: a 30-day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund; A clear right to demand that substandard services are redone or failing that to receive a price cut; Being able to challenge terms and conditions which are not fair or are hidden in the small print; and new rights for consumers to get a repair or a replacement of faulty digital content such as online film, games, music downloads and e-books.

A spokesperson from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills said: “This will be the first time that consumers have had clear legal rights for digital content. The Act gives consumers the right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online film and games, music downloads, and e-books. The law here has been unclear up until now and this change brings us up to date with how digital products have evolved.

“And, for the first time, there are clear rules for what should happen if a service is not carried out with reasonable care and skill or as agreed with the consumer. The service provider will have to put the service right in line with what was agreed or, if that is not practical, must give some money back.”

Practical examples could include getting money back after a disastrous trip to the hairdressers, having decorating re-done after it goes awry, securing a full refund within 30 days on a new but faulty toaster and seeking redress on computer games and apps. For more information please visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk or call the helpline 03454 040506.

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