On October 1st 2015, the Consumer Rights Act became law. It aims to simplify shoppers' rights, and help businesses know exactly where they stand.
As part of National Consumer Week 2015 Citizens Advice Scotland launched a campaign, Tough Act to Follow? to notify consumers of their key rights, some of them new.
Your New Rights
There are two key new areas which the Act covers:
- Digital content. The Act gives consumers a clear right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online film and games, music downloads and e-books. The law here has been unclear up until now and this change brings us up to date with how digital products have evolved. The new rules include: replacement of digital content, for example, an online computer game that doesn’t function properly; a cooling off period of 14 days for most ‘distance’ contracts e.g. online.
- Faulty goods / services for redress. For the first time, there are clear rules about what should happen if a service is not provided with reasonable care and skill, or as agreed. For example, the business that provided the service must bring it into line with what was agreed with the customer or, if this is not practical, must give some money back. This means you have the right to return faulty goods and seek redress for poor services, and sets out a clear timetable for the process - the buyer has 30 days after purchase to seek refund or replacement, which must be provided within 14 days if the trader agrees.
Other Changes of Note
The nitty gritty of the Consumer Rights Act includes other changes which bring the law up to date:
- Secondary ticketing sites must now clearly display the exact location in a venue and face value of tickets they sell. No more being stranded miles from your mates or surprise restricted views!
- Small print must be curbed where possible, and key terms and conditions clearly stated. No more reaching for the 'readers' just to find out what you're buying...
When Traders and Consumers Disagree...
If a retailer does not agree with a customer that poor service or faulty goods have been given, there is now a process called 'Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)'. This allows the two parties to bring in an ADR provider to negotiate settlement. The Citizens Advice consumer service (03454 04 05 06) now has a dedicated helpdesk to assist in this area.
Here are some things you can do to use the new Act to your advantage:
- Check out Citizens Advice Scotland's Consumer pages - the help you need could be there.
- Call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service with any consumer problems on 03454 04 05 06.
- Is there a template letter that can help? We have updated our range of letters to help you with things like complaints about faulty goods or poor service from traders.