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Key rights and remedies of the Consumer Rights Act 2015

Key rights and remedies of the Consumer Rights Act 2015

Dispute resolution solicitor Sian Spencer looks at the new Consumer Rights Act which came into force at the beginning of October.

On 5th October 2015, the new Consumer Rights Act came into force, consolidating and simplifying existing consumer protection laws in England and Wales.

Some of the new rights and remedies brought about by the 2015 Act are set out below:-

Goods are to be of satisfactory quality (Consumer Rights Act section 9) and fit for purpose (section 10).Goods must match a given sample (section 13) and must match a model if seen or examined (section 14).Goods do not conform if digital content does not conform to the consumer’s requirements (section 16).

Applicable remedies for breaches of sections 9, 10, 13, 14 and 16 include:-

  • Short term right to reject - The Consumer Rights Act introduces a new "short-term right to reject", which reflects the existing common law right to reject but, rather than providing that it is lost after a "reasonable period", sets a deadline of 30 days for its exercise.  The 30 day period can be extended by the trader, but cannot be reduced. However, perishable goods have a shorter short-term right to reject. The consumer loses his short-term right to reject if the time limit passes (unless the parties agreed it can be exercised later). The short-term right to reject extends by at least 7 days if the trader repairs or replaces the goods during that time.
  • The right to repair or replacement - The Consumer Rights Act introduces a right to repair or replacement.  If the consumer requires the trader to repair or replace the goods, the trader must (a) do so within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer and (b) bear any unnecessary costs incurred in doing so (including the cost of labour, materials and postage).  The consumer cannot, however, require the trader to repair or replace where the repairing or replacing is impossible / disproportionate compared to other available remedies.
  • The right to a price reduction / the final right to reject – The Consumer Rights Act introduces the right to a price reduction.  This is the right (a) to require the trader to reduce by an appropriate amount the price the consumer is required to pay under the contract, or anything else the consumer is required to transfer under the contract, and (b) to receive a refund from the trader for anything already paid or otherwise transferred by the consumer above the reduced amount.  The final right to reject can be exercised as an alternative to the right to a price reduction.  Both the right to a price reduction and the right to reject may only be exercised in one of the following situations:-
    • Where after one repair or one replacement, the goods do not conform to the contract.
    • Where, because it is impossible / disproportionate to do so, the consumer can require neither repair nor replacement of the goods,
    • Where the consumer has required the trader to repair or replace but the trader does not do so within a reasonable period of time / does not do so without significant inconvenience to the consumer.

Goods must be installed correctly so that they conform to the consumer’s contractual requirements (see section 15 Consumer Rights Act).Goods do not conform to the contract if (a) installation of the goods forms part of the contract, (b) the goods are installed by the trader or under the trader’s responsibility and (c) the goods are installed incorrectly.

Applicable remedies for breach of section 16 include:-

  • The right to repair or replacement (see above);
  • The right to a price reduction or final right to reject (see above).

Where other pre-contract information is required to be provided by statute (e.g. by the Consumer Contracts (ICAC) Regs) and the trader breaches this requirement the consumer has the following remedy:-

  • The right to a price reduction (section 19(5) Consumer Rights Act) – the consumer has the right to recover from the trader the amount of any costs incurred by the consumer as a result of the breach up to the amount of the price paid or the value of other consideration given for the goods.

Goods must be free from encumbrances and the consumer must be allowed to enjoy quiet possession of the goods.  Breach of these requirements does not give rise to a specific remedy in the Consumer Rights Act but consumers are free to pursue common law or equitable remedies.In those circumstances, consumers would be well advised to seek legal advice.

Goods are to be delivered at the agreed time or within the agreed period or, if no time has been agreed, without undue delay but in any event within 30 days of the contract (section 28 Consumer Rights Act).

Applicable remedies for breach of section 28 include:-

  • If the following circumstances are met, the right to treat the contract as at an end
    • The trader has refused to deliver the goods, or
    • Delivery of the goods at the agreed time or within the agreed period is essential taking into account all the relevant circumstances at the time the contract was entered into, or
    • The consumer told the trader before the contract was entered into that delivery in accordance with the time agreed (or the time implied by the Consumer Credit Act) was essential.
  • Otherwise, the right to set a new time for delivery;
  • If the new delivery time is missed, the right to treat the contract as at an end.

If you have any questions about the Consumer Rights Act, I would be happy to hear from you at sls@burnetts.co.uk,  on 01228 552222 or through the comments boxes below.

Published: Monday 19th October 2015
Categorised: Dispute Resolution

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