Is your business ready for the Consumer Rights Act 2015?
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015. There are some key changes such as enhanced consumer remedies which may mean businesses have to adjust their trading practices in order to reduce the risk of incurring additional liability. One such remedy is the short-term right to reject which is limited to 30 days. The 30 day period can be extended by the trader, but cannot be reduced.
The 2015 Act uses the concept of non-conforming goods, services and digital content as the trigger for the remedies available to consumers. The specific non-conformity dictates which 2015 Act remedy applies. These remedies include, amongst others, rejection, refund, repeat performance and price reduction.
It introduces a new category of product – ‘digital content’. It sets out a hierarchy of remedies that will apply, such as a right to compensation where digital content provided under a consumer contract causes damages to a device or other digital content belonging to the consumer. There are also several terms which relate to the liability of a trader which cannot be excluded or restricted.
There are a number of practical steps that businesses can take in relation to the 2015 Act:
• review standard consumer terms to make sure they comply with the 2015 Act, in particular the new fairness requirements and the new enhanced consumer remedies for non-conforming goods, digital content and services.
• review the processes used to deal with non-conforming goods, digital content and services and, if necessary, amend them to factor in these new remedies. This process should include training to ensure that employees who deal with customers on a daily basis are aware of the new rules and handle consumer requests for repair, replacement, repeat performance and refunds appropriately.
• review all company information given to consumers to make sure it is up-to-date, accurate and reliable.
For advice on how the 2015 Act affects your business, please contact our corporate & commercial team.