The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is an act of parliament which consolidates existing consumer law and incorporates a range of new legislation. Its purpose is to uphold the rights of consumers and provide recompense when they are given services or goods which are below an acceptable standard. It also allows consumers to claim compensation if the defective product has caused personal injury, damage to property or death.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 – Goods and Services
At The CPA, we have compiled this short guide to breaking down the Consumer Rights Act 2015. We have taken excerpts from the Act to help explain how it affects consumers and businesses. Please see the government website to read the full legislation.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 refers in particular to the provision of services, the quality of goods and digital content. In brief, these separate areas can be described as such:
- Goods – According to the Act, goods must be of satisfactory quality, fit for the consumer’s use in a specific situation and as described when the purchase was made. Consumers now have a minimum of 30 days to reject the goods if they fail to meet the necessary criteria.
- Services – According to the Act, all services must be carried out with reasonable skill and care and completed within a reasonable time scale. If a service is found to be of an unsatisfactory standard, the consumer is entitled to a price reduction or remediation.
- Digital content – The requirements of digital content are identical to those of goods. Under the Act, consumers have a right to reparation, replacement, a reduction in cost or a full refund.
How does the Consumer Rights Act 2015 affect the construction industry?
The vast majority of tradespeople offer a reputable and professional service. Most of the recent Consumer Rights Act legislation changes won’t impact how a building company operates. Clear contracts, sticking to the terms of agreement, supplying quality products, and using alternative dispute resolutions, when necessary, will protect your business against any claims.
However, if you’ve experienced consumer disputes before, it’s worth reading up on how consumer rights have changed and what is expected of you as a trader. It’s also worth considering whether what you’re providing is mainly goods based, service based, or an equal mix of the two.
The Act differentiates between ‘goods’ (products), ‘services’ and ‘goods with services’. If you’re a double-glazing installer for example, then you will be offering goods with services. If you just offer general building repair works then you will provide predominantly services. If you are a building products supplier then you provide only goods.
Before you begin any new building contracts, it’s a good idea to ensure that you know exactly where you stand in terms of Consumer Rights Act legislation.
Important points regarding the Consumer Rights Act 2015
To ensure that you are completely transparent when providing services or you are fully aware of your rights as a consumer, here are five key points regarding the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
- Identifying whether you are providing goods, services, digital content, or a combination of more than one of the above will help to determine the exact rights which are available to consumers prior to a contract being signed.
- Where goods or services are unsatisfactory, the consumer has the right to an automatic 100% refund within 30 days of initial payment.
- When providing a service, any terms agreed between the trader and consumer, including written and verbal agreements, may be binding. It is essential that both parties are fully aware of expectations to avoid a dispute arising.
- In terms of digital content, it is a trader’s responsibility to rectify any faults or problems. If, on doing so, the trader causes further damage to a consumer’s device, they will be fully responsible for any repair costs.
- Unfair terms within a contract can potentially negate the contract if the consumer’s rights and obligations are negatively affected. Contract terms should always be fair and transparent to avoid situations where a consumer feels they have been conned, defrauded or received unsatisfactory goods or services.
Specialist advice on consumer/trader relationships in the UK
At The CPA, we offer a range of quality products, including Alternative Dispute Resolutions and Insurance Backed Guarantees. Our products and services are designed to offer peace of mind to consumers and tradesman alike. Have a browse of our Consumer and Trade pages to find out more about what we offer.
When you want to offer your customers peace of mind that they are working with a trustworthy and professional trader, join The CPA network of trusted traders. As a consumer looking for a trustworthy trader for your next home improvement project, choose a CPA trusted trader.
For more information you can contact us online using our instant messaging service or call 01462 850 064 to speak to one of our team.