Posted in Dispute Resolution
This month we have seen a great and welcome change in an area of law affecting every one of us, which we at Pindoria Solicitors are pleased about.
As of the 1st October, the Consumer Rights Act has been revised in order to make consumer law far easier to understand. It means now, for the first time, anyone who buys faulty goods will be entitled to a full refund for up to 30 days after purchase.
Until now, consumers were only entitled to refunds for a ‘reasonable time’.
There is also now new protection for people who buy digital content, such as online films, music and eBooks. They will be entitled to a replacement if the downloads are faulty, but not a refund. Also in this digital age, if a download infects a computer with a virus, the provider could also be liable to pay compensation for clearing the virus.
Retailers who sell second hand goods are also liable to adhere to this new law protecting the consumer. Services such as, car repairs and beauty treatments are also given stronger rights. Providers who do not carry out the work with reasonable care, as agreed with the customer, will be under an obligation to put things right or they may have to at least give a partial refund.
As we know, retailers many times offer to refund goods even if customers change their minds about a product – but there is no statutory right to a refund. These laws are relatively simple and will help people to know their rights.
Consumers will also now be able to avoid court action and take their complaints through a cheaper route of certified Alternative Dispute Resolution providers.
It is worth remembering that the Consumer Rights Act says that goods must be of satisfactory quality, based on what a reasonable person would expect, taking into account the price. Also they must be fit for purpose. If the consumer has a particular purpose in mind, he or she should make that clear and also meet the expectations of the consumer.
These changes also enacts enabling British courts to hear American style class action lawsuits where one or even a group people can sue on behalf of a much larger group.
It will be easier for groups of consumers or small businesses to seek compensation from firms that have fixed prices and formed cartels – in many ways a victory for the little man.
So today, here in England, it is a good time to be a consumer. However, of course, you will always be in a stronger position in any times of conflict if you know your rights, so try to brush up on them.