The Consumer Rights Act 2015

9th October 2015
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 image

The Consumer Rights Act 2015

Introduction

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“the Act”) came in to force on the 1st October 2015.  It will apply to contracts entered into on or after the 1st October 2015.  It is a mixed bag of consolidating previous legislation into one statute and also some new law.  It applies to contracts between traders/businesses and consumers, but not between businesses.  This article summarises the main provisions of the Act.

Statutory Quality Standards (“SQS”) for the sale of goods

There are virtually identical SQS under the Act as previously, e.g. goods to be of a satisfactory quality, fit for purpose etc.  In addition under the Act goods will need to:-

(i)         Match any models seen or examined by the consumer, save where any differences are brought to the consumer’s attention before he enters the contract; and

(ii)         Conform with pre-contract information.

Remedies in respect of sale of goods

The Act has changed the position on remedies for a consumer where goods are faulty.  Previously a consumer had the right to reject and get a full refund provided he did so within a reasonable period of time subject to the right being lost if the goods were accepted by the consumer.  Now under the Act the consumer, save for very limited exceptions (e.g. perishable goods) will have 30 days within which to reject and claim a refund.

If the right to reject is not exercised then the consumer has the right to a repair or replacement.  The trader/business will only have one chance to repair/replace.  If the goods are not repaired/replaced within a reasonable time or it is not possible or is unsuccessful, then the consumer has the right to a price reduction or a final right to reject.

The statutory remedies are in addition to other rights, e.g. to claim damages but obviously a consumer cannot recover twice for the same loss.

Digital Content

Prior to the Act, there was no specific statutory right regarding digital content.  Now if any digital content supplied on or embedded in goods does not conform with the SQS under the Act, the digital content with be deemed faulty and the statutory remedies as above will be available.

Rules on Delivery

Rules on delivery have changed.  Unless a business and a consumer agree a time or period for delivery before the contract is made, goods must be delivered without undue delay and within 30 days.  Furthermore the goods remain at the trader’s risk until they come in to the physical possession of the consumer or the consumer’s nominated agent.

Services

Prior to the Act, consumers had no statutory rights when services were of poor quality or defective, although there were common law remedies (e.g. damages) if the services were in breach of any expressed or implied clause that the trader would use reasonable skill and care.  The Act provides as follows:-

(i)         Every service contract includes a term that a trader must perform the services with reasonable skill and care.  Liability can only be excluded/limited if it can be limited to the price paid by the consumer;

(ii)         Pre-contract statements or information about the services will become contractual terms if they are taken into account by a consumer when he decides to enter into a contract;

(iii)        If the contract price has not been paid and is not fixed, then the consumer has to pay a reasonable price.  A reasonable price will be a question of fact;

(iv)        If the time for performance is not fixed by the contract, the trader must perform the contract within a reasonable period of time.

Remedies for Defective Services

If (i) or (ii) above is breached then in addition to other remedies the consumer can require repeat performance at the trader’s costs unless impossible.  The consumer can also seek a price reduction (which also applies to (iv) above) where repeat performance is impossible or the trader has failed to perform in conformity with the contract within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer.  The price reduction can be the full amount.

Unfair Terms

Terms that seek to exclude or limit a consumer’s statutory rights and remedies in respect of goods are not allowed.

All written terms must be in plain and intelligible language and legible.

Most contract terms and any notices will be subject to a fairness test.  Terms that are unfair will be void and unenforceable.
Terms that relate to the amount to be paid, or define the subject matter of the contract will be exempt from the fairness test provided they are transparent and prominent.

Consumer Guarantees

The Act is virtually identical in this regard to pre-existing legislation.  A consumer will have however a new right to require a copy of any guarantee.

Grant Shackleston, head of our Litigation Team has commented as follows:-

“The Act consolidates much of the old law, which will be helpful to us lawyers!  As for the changes, traders/businesses need to be on their guard!  They will need to:-

(i)         Review consumer contracts and notices (including website terms) to ensure compliance with the fairness rules;

(ii)         Review all advertising/additional materials provided in the run up to selling as such matters referred to therein are likely to be contractually binding;

(iii)        Brief all sales staff on the new tiered remedies, reviewing cancellation and return policies in the process;

(iv)        For traders in digital content, to ensure that terms and conditions of business reflect the new law;

(v)         Review terms and conditions of business to ensure that they are compliant with the new tiered remedy system.”

If you are a trader or a consumer and require advice on anything relating to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 or any other consumer type issue, then please contact Daven on 01775 722261 or email daven.naghen@maplessolicitors.com or visit or attend at our offices for an appointment at 23 New Road Spalding Lincolnshire PE11 1DH.


Maples supporting Macmillan Coffee Morning image

Maples supporting Macmillan Coffee Morning

On 29th September 2017 Maples Solicitors LLP will be hosting a coffee morning as part of Macmillan’s “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”.

Tea, coffee and cakes will be served from 10:00am until 1:00pm and all donations received will go to Macmillan Cancer Support to assist them with providing medical, emotional, practical and financial support to those facing cancer and their families.

At the same time, Maples will also be running a free Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney and Probate clinic so that whilst you are in the office you may take the opportunity to discuss any of these with one of the Private Client Team with no obligation to commit. You can use the time to raise any questions you may have about making a Will, who you could appoint as Executors, whether you need a Power of Attorney or how a Power of Attorney works, for example.

Maples hope to see their existing clients join them for the coffee morning and very much look forward to meeting new people- everyone is welcome!

If you would like to discuss any matters in relation to Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or any Probate related matters prior to the coffee morning then please contact one of the lawyers in our private client team:-

Jane Mawer- jane.mawer@maplessolicitors.com
Jamie Dobbs- jamie.dobbs@maplessolicitors.com
Faye Blair- faye.blair@maplessolcitors.com

Or telephone the office on 01775 722261 and ask to speak with one of the team.

Read More

Testimonials

Gemma Mayer LLB

"I would highly recommend Maples Solicitors, especially Gemma Mayer, for any conveyancing work. The level of support and professionalism was excellent at all times. I also felt if I needed to ask or clarify anything that it was not an issue. Buying and selling a house is stressful enough, but Gemma helped me through it step by step."

Anita Toal LLB BA

"I think you are brilliant. You can use my comments above. You are efficient, friendly and quite clearly very good at what you do. Mainly you don’t leave people hanging around too long for." "So easy to talk to her and she understood what I wanted. She put me at ease and I cant thank her enough"

Daven Naghen LLB

"I felt the service I got from Maples was excellent and was very honest all through the process. I would recommend Maples as a first class Solicitors group"

Faye Blair LLB

Faye was excellent, sensitive and acted very well to the time constraints we faced. Great service and dealt with compassion at such sad times made the process less painful very professional.

Jamie Dobbs ACILEx

Over the last forty years I have cause to deal with many law firms both in a personal and professional capacity, including some ‘top’ London Companies. In all of those dealings I have never found anyone as proactive and so willing to offer help and advice as Jamie Dobbs. During the last two years Jamie guided my parents through the completion of Lasting Powers of Attorney. Helped myself with the use of the LPA and recently dealing with Probate and Estate Administration following their death.

Mike Pepper MA

This is the second time we have used Mike Pepper at Maples Solicitors in the sale of our house. We cannot praise Mike enough for the highly efficient and professional service that he has provided us with. He is by far the best solicitor we have ever worked with, and the service that he has provided us with has gone far and beyond anything we have ever experienced. We have found the whole process to be a very relaxing experience.

Claire Smith FCILEx

Claire Smith has been amazing in every way. I highly recommend her and I am so grateful for all her help. She’s professional on all levels, reliable, extremely organised and I will be recommending her to everyone. I’m very lucky to have had her representing me and I can’t thank her enough. She is an asset to Maples. Thanks so much Claire!

Anita Zaborniak

We found it a pleasure to deal with Anita Zaborniak, she was most helpful and informative and kept us up to date with the progress of the purchase of our new home. If we were to move again we wouldn’t hesitate to use Maples again.