Retailers need to be aware of imminent changes to the Consumer Rights Act, which Ian Lewis, senior corporate and employment law consultant at Bray & Bray, says have been the most significant changes for years.
From 1st October 2015, The Consumer Rights Act 2015 comes into force with key changes affecting retailers and consumers in relation to goods, digital content and services. Here, Ian explains the key changes to goods, which will affect how retailers’ terms and conditions must be written.
Right to reject goods
Retailers’ terms and conditions will need to be updated to clarify that consumers are entitled to reject goods within 30 days of receiving them.
What statutory rights are there under a goods contract?
- Goods to be of satisfactory quality
- Goods to be fit for particular purpose
- Goods to be as described
- Other pre-contract information included in contract
- Goods to match a sample
- Goods to match a model seen or examined
- Installation as part of conformity of the goods with the contract
- Goods not conforming to contract if digital content does not conform
Made to order goods
Retailers’ terms and conditions will also need to say that finished products that are made to order (e.g.: curtains, bespoke clothing, wardrobes) as goods and not a product of their services.
‘What they see is what they get’
If a contract is entered into, for example in reference to buying a new sofa or car, where the consumer expects to receive what they have seen in the showroom, the goods provided must match what was seen. If there are any changes or differences to goods, the consumer must be made aware of this before a contract is entered into.
Which goods contracts are covered in the Consumer Rights Act?
- Ownership of goods
- Sales contracts
- Contracts for the hire of goods
- Hire-purchase agreements
- Contracts for transfer of goods
Digital content as goods
If digital content is sold, but the received goods are not fit for purpose, as described or of satisfactory quality, in certain circumstances consumers can reject the digital content, request a replacement or be entitled to a price reduction.
Retailers breaching goods contracts
If retailers do not meet all pre-contract commitments, or if they breach any of these (relating to information, cancellations and additional charges e.g. delivery costs) then consumers may recover costs incurred, separate to the cost of the product itself.
What remedies are there if statutory rights under a goods contract are not met?
- Consumer’s rights to enforce terms about goods
- Right to reject
- Partial rejection of goods
- Time limit for short-term right to reject
- Right to repair or replacement
- Right to price reduction or final right to reject
- Consumer Rights Act: Digital Content
- Consumer Rights Act: Services
What retailers need to do
If you are a retailer, your terms and conditions will have to be changed to reflect the changes brought about by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 by the time that it comes into force on 1st October 2015.
To go through this with a specialist corporate lawyer, you can contact Bray & Bray’s corporate law team at its offices in Leicester, Hinckley and Market Harborough by calling 0116 254 8871.