The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1 October and represents an attempt to simplify and enhance consumer protection laws – as well as to update the rules so that they reflect the ways in which consumers buy goods and services today. It includes new provisions on digital sales, for example. The idea is to set out very clearly what rights consumers have when buying goods and services of any kind – and how they can enforce their rights.
The Consumer Rights Act only applies to sales since October 1 2015. The act says that goods must be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. Fit for purpose means both their everyday purpose and any specific purpose that you agreed with the seller (for example, if you specifically asked for a printer that would be compatible with your computer). The goods you are sold must also match any sample you were shown or any description you read in a brochure. The act also says that services should be provided with reasonable care and skill, and should deliver what was agreed with the customer. If this doesn’t happen, you have the right to ask the trader to repeat the service. If that isn’t possible or if the trader has tried and failed for a second time, you can seek a price reduction (up to a full refund) instead.
The Consumer Rights Act applies to sales made in stores or another physical location and online. Consumers buying goods ‘at a distance’ have additional rights. If the provider of a product or service refuses to accept your complaint, you may ultimately have to take legal action. You have six years to take a claim to court for faulty goods in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; in Scotland you have five years.