Friday, 31 October 2014

The Consumer Rights Bill

The Consumer Rights Bill, which is expected to receive Royal Assent early on in the next Parliamentary session, will mark a significant change in consumer law.

The existing framework of consumer law is set out in over 100 separate pieces of legislation, placing a significant administrative and compliance burden on businesses and creating confusion and uncertainty for consumers. Consolidation of these rules should create a better compliance framework for businesses and make it far easier for consumers to understand and use their rights.

The existing framework is also considered to be out of date (e.g. in relation to digital content) and inconsistent (e.g. as between contracts for goods and contracts for services) and the Bill looks to modernise and streamline these areas.

The legislation proposed also strengthens consumer’s rights in some important areas. Provisions within the Bill which have the potential to make a significant difference to consumers include:

- consumers only having to accept one repair or replacement before being entitled to a refund;
- consumers being entitled to require a trader to reperform a service if the initial service was not carried out to a satisfactory level, or receive a partial refund if this is not done; and
- consumers having the right to receive a full refund when they return faulty goods within 30 days.

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