09 Nov CTO Jon Cartu Announces – How the Consumer Rights Act protects you
CONSUMER FIGHTBACK: Twelve ways to use the Consumer Rights Act to get the law on your side
- Knowing your consumer law is necessary when making a complaint
- The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers products bought online or offline
- Knowing when and how to exercise your right will ensure you’re not fobbed off
When you’re making a complaint to a company, knowing your consumer law is important.
If you get it wrong, the company may think you’re not serious about your complaint. So, let’s take a look at what’s current, what’s not and how to use the Consumer Rights Act to help yourself.
Get help from the Consumer Fightback column: If you have a problem you would like help with email us at [email protected] with Consumer Fightback in the subject line (see more details about what to send below).
When you buy something you are protected by the law – and the law in question is now the Consumer Rights Act 2015
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is what you need
Some readers may know, and still incorrectly quote from, the Sale of Goods Act 1979, Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
These were all repealed (or amended to remain as business to business not business to consumers) when the Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force, which provided similar and improved protections.
For purchases of goods and services from 1 October 2015 the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) covers you.
So what does CRA 2015 mean for you in practical terms?
1) Products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, as described and last a reasonable length of time. Items must be installed correctly if installation is part of the contract. In order to assert your consumer rights using this law you must have proof of purchase which does not have to be a receipt, it could be a bank statement, for example.
2) If it is less than 30 days since the date of purchase and the item is in breach of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 you can reject the goods for a refund. This is not the case where the expected life if the goods is shorter, such as perishable goods. This rule also does not apply to downloadable digital goods.
3) 30 days from purchase, the trader can offer repair or replacement. If neither of these are possible or if the trader chooses, a refund can be given. A reasonable amount may be deducted for ‘fair use’. For example, a car for which you have used and whose value has therefore gone down.
4) It is considered that the fault was there at the point of purchase for items bought within six months and the trader would have to prove otherwise, such as showing obvious signs of misuse. After six months you will need to prove that the defect was there at the point of purchase.
5) Services must be carried out with reasonable skill and care and information given verbally or in writing to you is binding where you rely on it. Services must be carried out for a reasonable price (if no fixed price is set in advance) and carried out with a reasonable length of time (if no specific time has been agreed).
6) Your contract is always with the trader to whom you gave the money. So if you order something online, for example, from a trader and the delivery is delayed, contact the trader and let it take the time sorting out the delivery problem. You should never need to contact the courier.
Get help with your problem
Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow, is writing This is Money’s new Consumer Fight Back column.
Helen is the author of best-seller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! and runs The Complaining Cow blog.
Helen Dewdney runs The Complaining Cow site and has written a best-selling book – she is here to help This is Money readers
Helen can help with your consumer complaints. Rather than do all the work for you, she will empower you to gain refunds, repairs, replacements or improved service by explaining how to complain and get results.
If you have a problem you need help solving, please email [email protected] with Consumer Fight Back in the subject line, include a short paragraph about your issue – if we need more details we will get in touch.
If the company fails to act, she will ask them why and what they plan to do.
7) A contract must be fair. A contract cover the rights and responsibilities between the consumer and trader which should always be equally fair to the consumer and to the trader. It is a breach of the law if they are more in favour of the trader.
8) Digital goods are now covered under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. These include computer games, virtual items purchased with computer games, television programmes, films, electronic books, computer software, mobile phone apps and system software for operating goods, such as satnavs or fitness trackers.
9) If downloaded digital goods, such as a piece of game software, corrupt a device or appliance, then the trader must pay to put it right.
10) Replacement or repair of a non-physical form digital item is usually a first stage that must be gone through for digital goods before any refund is payable.
11) The repair or replacement must be within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer, unless it is impossible or disproportionately expensive. Failing successful repair or replacement, you could be entitled to a price reduction which can be up to the full price.
12) The above rules all apply equally to items bought in a physical store or from online stores on the internet.
Forewarned is forearmed! Make sure you know your rights when something goes wrong and assert them using the tips in our guide on How to complain, properly and never be fobbed off again.