The Act is a major part of the government’s reform of UK consumer law and is predicted to boost the economy by £4 billion over the next decade by streamlining complicated law from 8 pieces of legislation into one place.It will also introduce a range of new rights for consumers when it comes into force on 1 October 2015 including a 30-day time period to return faulty goods and replacement rights for faulty digital content.Brian Smith, GGF Home Improvement Director commented: “The new Consumer Rights Act will have far reaching consequences for all companies in our industry and I’d urge every company to be well prepared for the impact.The GGF is doing everything in its power to ensure its Members are given the support and information needed to cope with this new law. We have just over five months for consumer facing companies to fully adjust before the law is enforced in October.”
Vince Cable, Business Secretary said:
This is the biggest shake up of consumer law for a generation, bringing legislation in line with the fact many people now buy online.
Consumers will now be much better informed and protected when buying goods or services on the internet. They will now be entitled to get for the first time a free repair or replacement for any faulty digital content.
Jo Swinson, Consumer Affairs Minister said:
“For too long consumers and businesses have struggled to understand the complicated rules that apply when buying goods and services. That is why the Consumer Rights Act is so important in setting out clear and updated consumer rights for goods, services and, for the first time, digital content.”
Under the Act, consumers and businesses will have clearer rights and responsibilities to those introduced in June 2014 by the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
- consumers having a clear right to demand that substandard services are redone or failing that receive a price reduction
- a 30-day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund. The law is currently unclear on how long this period should last
- consumers being entitled to some money back after one failed repair of faulty goods (or one faulty replacement) even if more than 30 days have passed, rather than having to put up with repeated attempts to get a repair done
- consumers being able to challenge terms and conditions which are not fair or are hidden in the small print
Measures have also been included in the Act to specifically reduce the burdens of understanding and applying consumer law.
- a new requirement for enforcers such as Trading Standards Officers to give 48 hours’ notice to businesses when carrying out routine inspections, saving business £4.1 million per year. Trading Standards Officers will still be able to carry out unannounced inspections where they suspect illegal activity
- faster and lower cost remedies for businesses who have been disadvantaged from breaches in competition law
Brian Smith continues, “The GGF has been in regular communication with Government; briefing departments, Ministers and Lords, with concerns that the Act as it stands, could have a negative effect on business. The main concern being, how the Act will introduce a “short term right to reject” of a default 30 days for consumers to reject faulty goods, rather than continuing with the current “reasonable period”. The GGF has expressed its concerns to Business, Skills and Innovation (BIS) that this will create problems for the domestic replacement glazing industry when consumers try to reject windows and doors which have been installed.”
Though disappointed that their suggested amendments never materialised, the GGF will continue to guide and inform its Members. The GGF has arranged for a presentation by a Trading Standards Lead Officer, on the “Likely effect the new Act will have on our industry” at the GGF Joint Window and Door Group and Conservatory Association meeting at the end of April in Solihull, Midlands to which all Members are welcome. Further presentations by GGF staff to Members around the Regions will then follow during the months up to October before implementation of the Act.
For more information on attending the above meetings, please email the Home Improvement Department, firstname.lastname@example.org.