On 1 October 2015 large parts of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 take effect. It changes the law regarding sales of goods and services to consumers, both in store, by tele-sales and on-line.
What are the changes?
- They re-state (with slight changes) and bring into one place existing rules on the sale of goods and services, and concerning unfair terms in consumer contracts;
- They change the rules relating to consumer remedies. The changes shouldn't cause much surprise, and existing complaints and redress procedures may already offer what the new rules require;
- They introduce new consumer rights relating to sale of "digital content". This is the most prominent change, but in practice is unlikely to be that onerous on suppliers;
- Terminology has changed – perhaps largely of interest to lawyers, but changes may be needed to the language of terms of sale, web-notices and such-like to keep them up-to date;
- Probably the most important point to remember is that how suppliers (and their sale staff) describe the service provided will form part of the contractual promise to the customer, and any qualifications need to be very clearly and understandably set out. The same applies to certain key statements about goods.
These obligations fall on the immediate supplier, who sells goods or services to the consumer, rather than the original manufacturer.
A key change is that how you describe the service you provide forms part of your contractual promise to the customer.