Author: Eddie Powell
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Act) has now received Royal Assent, bringing about an overhaul in the law regarding the sale and supply of goods, services and digital content and the law on unfair contract terms.
The Act clarifies and consolidates previous legislation, attempting to make it easier for traders and consumers alike to observe and understand. Businesses will need to have made changes by 1 October 2015 to comply with the legislation. Some key developments which will affect retailers are:
Right to reject
Repair or replacement
Traders can avoid having to pay for the ‘reasonable costs’ of goods being returned by ensuring customers are told prior to entering into the contract that goods must be returned to the place of purchase. A delivery period should also be stated in the contract if a delivery period of more than 30 days is anticipated. Companies should also take the time to ensure new procedures for dealing with customer complaints are implemented prior to 1 October and that their staff are adequately trained so they can deal with complaints in compliance with the Act.
While, in theory, the Act should simplify the law and process, many are worried about the impact these new provisions will have. For example, traders who sell highly innovative or complex goods are especially likely to be affected as their products may need more than one repair/replacement as and when technology develops. Companies now face the task of ensuring the provisions are incorporated as seamlessly as possible into the daily running of the business to ensure the new law is effectively implemented.
Eddie Powell, Partner, Fladgate LLP (firstname.lastname@example.org)