Posted On / 01.10.2015

Solicitors Urge 'Buy In' for New Consumer Legislation

A Dorset and Somerset law firm has urged businesses and consumers to 'know their rights' when landmark legislation comes into force on October 1.

Battens Solicitors says the aim of the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 is to simplify, strengthen and modernise the law.

As the biggest shake-up of consumer legislation for a generation, it replaces the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations and Supply of Goods and Services Act.

Consultant Solicitor Phil Burbidge said: "These changes are relevant to every business selling directly to consumers.

"They create a clearer and more easily understood arena where consumers can buy and businesses can sell to them with confidence."

He added: "Consumers now have a new and strengthened armoury. Businesses and their staff, however, must be fully aware and prepared for a new era where transparency and prominence of trading terms and accountability for what is said and offered will become the norm."

Provisions in the Act include a new definition of 'consumer' to include such persons as sole traders and the self-employed provided that their purchase is primarily for non-business purposes. There are also provisions for when goods or digital content are faulty and when services are not provided with reasonable care and skill.

The Act also introduces such measures as:

  • 30 days to get a refund when rejecting a faulty item
  • A 'tiered' remedy system offering rejection, repair and replace •Refund in cases of failed repairs
  • A second repair or replacement for those who don't want a refund or price reduction
  • New digital rights for online or physically incorporated digital content
  • Easier challenges to unfair terms in consumer contracts, and requirement for prominence and transparency of main terms
  • Retailer's service must comply with pre-contract information including spoken statements

In addition, delivery rights make the retailer responsible for goods until they are in a consumer's physical possession.

A trader is also obliged to repeat a service which is inadequate at no extra cost, within a reasonable time and without causing the consumer significant inconvenience or, where not possible, giving a price reduction possibly up to 100% of the cost.

Furthermore, a trader must inform the consumer of his/her right to seek Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Anyone with consumer issues or businesses requiring advice on their trading terms are urged to contact Battens on 01935 846000.