Are you confident in dealing with your gas, energy and water supply? Have you had problems with your mobile phone company or broadband? Have you had problems buying or selling on the internet? Many people either do not know their consumer rights or have had problems exercising them.
More than one in five people in the UK experience problems with goods and services. A quarter of them spend more than four hours trying to sort out these problems, one in ten having to take time off work to do so.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 streamlines eight pieces of legislation into one.
This should make life a little easier for shoppers who encountered more than 18 million problems with consumer goods and services over a 12 month period.
Know your Rights:
Check the date!
When did you buy the goods or enter into the contract? The Consumer Rights Act will only apply to goods and services purchased from 1 October 2015. Previous legislation will apply to purchases and contracts before this date.
What is satisfactory quality?
The Consumer Rights Act states that goods should be as described, of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. What constitutes ‘satisfactory quality’ depends on the description given; the price paid; and other relevant details, such as the age or history of the item.
Digital content covered too!
For the first time, digital content is defined in law. The Consumer Rights Act gives you a clear right to a repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online film and games, music downloads or e-books. It is still important to check before you buy that the digital content is suitable for your purposes and compatible with your hardware or software.
Know your cancellation rights
Consumer Law states that cancellation terms must be fair, transparent and prominent. However, your cancellation rights vary depending on where and when the contract was made and what it is for. Take time to find out about cancellation rights for the item or service you are buying
Clearer return rights for 30 days!
The short term “right to reject” enables you to return goods to a trader, within a 30 day period, for a full refund if your core rights have been breached. The burden of proof will be on you to show that the goods are not satisfactory, fit for purpose or as described.
Check the terms & conditions
The Consumer Rights Act states that terms & conditions must be prominent, so important terms hidden in the small print may not be compliant with the law.
Essential information must be provided
Traders, service providers, letting agents and secondary ticket sellers are covered by the new Consumer Rights Act. They must provide you with prominent, clear and honest information before you buy from, or enter into a contract, with them
Take time: check your rights
It’s worth researching the market and what your new consumer rights mean before you buy, particularly if you are shopping for expensive items. If you know your rights, you can spot traders who do not seem to be compliant and so avoid potential problems from the start.
Use Citizens Advice Consumer Service
The Consumer Service can advise on consumer problems or give pre-shopping advice to reduce risk. Phone 03454 040506 Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5pm, except Bank Holidays. You can also email enquiries through the website – www.citizensadvice.org.uk