THE Consumer Rights Act 2015, which becomes law in the UK on October 1, is intended to resolve the situation whereby some retailers sell products that break or do not work and then refuse to take them back and refund the cost.
Shoppers will now be entitled to a full refund up to 30 days after buying items including cars – which has been a very tricky problem in the past – that turn out to be faulty and there appears to be no ‘wriggle room’ for the retailer.
It also applies to tradesmen fitting kitchens, bathrooms or doing other work around the home to ensure that they deliver the service and quality that was promised so, the TV programme ‘Rogue Traders’ should find a great deal of new work from the Act.
There are also new rights for refunds covering digital downloads, such as games and films, which do not work and people have a 14-day period to return items bought over the web.
In addition, companies, including budget airlines, will no longer be allowed to hide charges in the small print of their conditions of sale, which online consumers have to tick that they have read, even when the reality is that most haven’t.
The Act is designed to bring together and improve several existing laws. The biggest change is the ‘early right to reject’ a product that turns out to be faulty or not what was claimed within 30 days in return for a full refund rather than being offered a repair.
It also gives better protection for shoppers where a product fails more than 30 days but less than six months after purchase. In this case, the store or garage can offer a repair but, if this does not work, the customer has a legal right to a refund or replacement.
The onus is also on retail outlets of all types to educate their staff about the contents of this Act to ensure that they know exactly what the new consumer rights are.