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Changes to Consumer Rights Act this Christmas

View profile for David Jones
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FDR Law provides consumer advice ahead of this year’s Black Friday

Warrington’s FDR Law is calling for consumers to make sure they protect themselves with their pre-Christmas purchases this year whether shoppers are taking to the high street or choosing to purchase online.

David Jones, trainee solicitor at FDR Law, Warrington explains; “The new Consumer Rights Act which came into effect last month represents the biggest overhaul of consumer law for decades. The Act sets out in one place most of the key consumer rights covering contracts for goods and services, including for the first time, digital content.”

Despite Asda recently announcing that it will not be taking part in Black Friday after last year’s scrums shoppers across Warrington and Cheshire will still be looking forward to netting huge discounts.

Says Jones: “At FDR Law we have outlined what consumers need to know before buying those Black Friday bargains so they can buy with confidence this Christmas. We also have a duty to ensure local businesses are delivering on their consumer obligations.”

Top tips for the Consumer Rights Act 2015:

  • The most important change in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is that you now have 30 days to take faulty goods back and get a full refund. If it's been more than 30 days, for example after Christmas, thanks to the new tiered remedy system, you now have to try a repair or replacement before asking for a refund.
  • If that repair or replacement doesn't help, you can now ask for a refund after just one attempt. If the item's still faulty after a repair or replacement, this isn't possible or it hasn't been carried out quickly enough, you're entitled to ask for a refund – this could be the full amount within the first six months, or otherwise a partial refund.
  • Buying computer games or films, or downloading music, ebooks or mobile phone apps? The new Consumer Rights Act now covers digital content. There's no 'refund within 30 days rule' for digital content, instead you have a right to a repair or replacement when something goes wrong, or a refund if these remedies don't work the first time. Similarly, if a download wipes your computer and you can prove this, you’re within your rights to claim for consequential losses
  • The new changes to the Act means that it now also covers services, so if you’ve bought a friend a spa day package on Groupon, for example, it means the Spa must act with reasonable care and skill when performing treatments.  If they don’t, you can ask for the service to be carried out again, or for a discount on the original price
  • The Act also enables customers to challenge hidden charges or fees that are not transparent or prominent.
  • What if retailers and traders don't follow the rules? If you've not had any luck with the retailer itself you may be able to take your case to the small claims court. Businesses must also give consumers the details of a certified Alternative Dispute Resolution provider, such as an ombudsman under new European Directives.
  • An eBay fan? Be careful: if you're buying second-hand goods from a private seller, your rights are nowhere near as strong as when buying from a retailer. The only protection is that the item must be correctly described and the owner has the right to sell it. So if the seller says little about the goods and you buy it, then that's it. Even if it's faulty, you weren't mis-sold, so have no comeback. However if you can prove that they’ve lied to you about an item – you do.

The new Consumer Rights Act 2015 only applies to sales after 01 October 2015, so if consumers have bought presents early to avoid the rush, not all of the above will apply. 

If you’re a business or a consumer and you need further advice on the new legislation, please contact David Jones at FDR Law on 01925 230000 or David.Jones@fdrlaw.co.uk

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