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How the Consumer Rights Act changes affect what you buy

Published 1 October 2015 by

When something goes wrong with goods or services you’ve paid for, it can be difficult to know what your rights are. You can look at the Sale of Goods Act 1979, the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 or the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999, but it’s easy to get confused by all that legislation.

That’s why the Government has decided to make things simpler. It’s getting rid of all the complex legislation surrounding the rules when you buy things and replacing it with one new act, the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Let’s take a look at how the new law affects you when you’re buying goods or services, and what it means for online shopping.

Clarity when buying

You know how it is – you’ve bought a voucher to use on a night’s stay at a top hotel and when you check the terms and conditions, you find you can’t use it on the weekend. You’re sure that the hotel didn’t make this clear before you booked but there’s nothing you can do about it now, right?

As a matter of fact, the new Consumer Rights Act covers this with its Section 62, which says that customers can challenge any terms and conditions that are unfair or if they’re hidden somewhere in the small print. This is designed to encourage retailers to be more upfront with the terms and conditions of products and goods they’re selling so that customers don’t feel like they’re being ripped off.

If there’s any information you take into account when you’re buying something – like a wild promise by a salesperson – the product or service has to comply with this. You can also get a refund on any faulty items for up to 30 days after you’ve bought it – the law previously only said you could do this for a ‘reasonable time’ afterwards.

Digital content

The Consumer Rights Act also sets out clear laws regarding paid-for digital content, like songs you’ve bought off iTunes. The law will also cover other digital items, including online games, downloaded films and e-books, as well as digital content supplied on a physical format, like CDs and DVDs. If you buy any faulty digital content, you now have a right to get it repaired or replaced for free.

If you’re trying to download a song you’ve bought and the file’s corrupted, there’s a chance this could damage your computer or mobile device. The Consumer Rights Act covers this too – you’ll be able to get compensation for any damage caused by faulty digital content. This should hopefully remove any worries technophobes might have about buying music or films online – they’ll be covered in the event that anything does go wrong.

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