Consumer Rights Act: 6 weeks and counting: updated guidance

Consumer Rights Act: 6 weeks and counting: updated guidance

The coming into force of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) 44 days from now means that many organisations have had to update much of their guidance for businesses.

Here's a quick guide to the most important changes:

CMA guidance on unfair terms

The CMA has updated its guidance on unfair terms in consumer contracts or, more precisely, its guidance on what it considers to be unfair under the CRA 2015 (the courts may always, ultimately, take a different view).

In a world of ever-decreasing attention spans, it has thoughtfully cobbled together three levels of advice on 'dodgy' terms:

For lawyers, we'd recommend the 'full fat', 144 page version.

The CMA has also thrown in, for good measure, a couple of flowcharts, an annex which shows historic examples of fair and unfair terms and even an annex which highlights the new elements of particular note in the CRA 2015.

Finally, don't forget that this new guidance, cryptically known as 'CMA37', replaces the Office of Fair Trading’s ‘Unfair contract terms guidance: OFT311’.

Business Companion guidance on point of sale notices

The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has also produced updated point-of-sale notices which can be used in store or on-line to help consumers understand their rights under the CRA 2015. To quote the CTSI:

Traders are not required to display [such] point-of-sale information by law but we believe both traders and consumers will welcome this tool to minimise confusion and unnecessary disputes for both parties.

The Institute has designed five notices, namely:

  • point of sale info for goods not sold on-line
  • point of sale info for services not sold on-line
  • point of sale info for goods sold on-line (including info on 14 day return)
  • point of sale info for services sold on-line (including info on 14 day return), and
  • point of sale info for digital content sold on-line

It is currently testing the point-of-sale information (the current design of which is set out here) to ensure it is fit for purpose so bear in mind that the notices may be subject to change.

Finally, don't forget that the CTSI has recently changed its web address, getting rid of the pesky 'gov' in its URL.

CAP and BCAP amended codes

The distance selling rules have been removed from the CAP and BCAP Codes.

Therefore, distance selling is no longer covered by either Codes and the ASA will no longer look into complaints in this area.

BIS guidance on payment surcharges

The government has published new guidance on the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012. These Regulations are designed to stop traders from charging consumers more than the direct cost borne by the trader for the use of a given means of payment; in other words, excessive credit or debit card fees.

The guidelines have been updated to take into account changes in legislation such as the CRA 2015.

So that's your lot for now. So what do you think? Is such guidance helpful? It is easy to digest or does it pose more questions than it answers. Do let us have your thoughts below. Or even tweet us!

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