Consumer Rights Act: T minus 3 days—how does it apply to goods?

Consumer Rights Act: T minus 3 days—how does it apply to goods?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 comes into force on 1 October. It represents the biggest change to consumer law since 6 December 1979 when Pink Floyd was at number 1, Margaret Thatcher was PM, e-mail entered the dictionary for the first time and, most importantly, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 became law.

This means, as far as consumers are concerned, the Sale of Goods Act will no longer apply to them from the first of next month (apart from the odd technical section that will still apply to all contracts, such as when ownership of goods transfers).

As the government states:

the law will be clearer and easier to understand, meaning that consumers can buy and businesses can sell to them with confidence

Perhaps.

Whilst the law is written in a less fusty style, don't be fooled into thinking that consumer law can now be found all in one convenient place. The law does consolidate much of the law relating to consumers, but by no means all of it.

It is, I'd venture, a very British fudge but one which, on balance, just about works.

The key, therefore, is to remember that key legislation such as the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 still apply.

Think of it as a ‘part consolidation’ and you shouldn’t go wrong.

So how do the changes in the 2015 Act apply to the sale of goods?

Sections 9 to 14 of the Act set out the standards applying to the supplies of goods.

The Act broadly restates the current standards applying to goods, eg that they must be:

  • of satisfactory quality
  • fit for purpose, and
  • as described

The biggest changes apply to the remedies that a customer has.

If the goods are faulty, the consumer has certain new rights (although bear in mind that the remedies in the Act do not prevent the consumer from pursuing other remedies such as seeking damages):

  • right to reject the goods and receive a refund: the consumer has up to 30 days to reject the goods although perishable goods are subject to a shorter time period. The trader can extend the 30-day period but may not reduce it
  • tiered remedies: if the customer no longer has the right to reject the goods, they can ask the trader to repair or replace the goods. If repair or replacement are impossible or the repair is inadequate, the consumer can ask for the price to be reduced or have a final right to reject. The final right to reject allows for deduction for use to take account of the use that the consumer has had of the goods since they were delivered to the consumer.

As under current law, the consumer has a reverse burden of proof during the first six months relating to the tiered remedies but not relating to the right to reject.

So plenty of new procedures that businesses need to be aware of.

Don't forget, if your clients aren't too fussed by the new law, it's likely that their customers will be:

https://twitter.com/MirrorMoney/status/648392396716310529

https://twitter.com/WhichUK/status/648419405047705600

Tomorrow, we'll have a look at what the new regime is for the supply of services.

In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on the above, do let us know below…

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