For nearly 50 years, the world has celebrated World Consumer Rights Day, a chance to examine, appreciate, critique and discuss laws related to consumer rights.
In 2014, the UK government examined consumer rights and decided to clarify, update and add to those rights. After much consultation from business, consumers, TSI and other interest groups, the Consumer Rights Bill moved through parliament and is now awaiting Royal Assent.
Not only does this bill clarify consumer rights, it clarifies business’ responsibilities to consumers. Trading standards officers work hard to develop relationships with businesses to comply with existing law. One of the challenges for business is understanding what those laws are.
So, in honour of World Consumer Rights Day, we’ve outlined some key changes in the Consumer Rights Bill that will affect businesses. If you’re a business it’s important to note that:
- The Consumer Rights Bill replaces 12 existing laws including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Service Act 1982
- For the first time digital content is addressed as a separate product category
- The bill outlines a clearer route for consumers interested in understanding their rights and the remedies they have if they feel the goods/services fail to do what was promised
- The bill clarifies when terms and conditions can be considered unfair
- The bill clarifies the periods for repair, replacement and refund
- The bill makes it easier for small businesses to take legal action against bigger companies that are breaking competition laws
While these points highlight overarching changes, it’s imperative that business owners familiarize themselves with the entirety of the bill. Once the bill goes through Royal Assent, which will be announced by the Department of Innovation Business and Skills (BIS), businesses will have until 1 October to implement the changes outlined in the Consumer Rights Bill. Guidance will be available later this month on the Business Companion website.
Following the changes, trading standards officers will continue working with businesses to operate within the law and investigating those who are not.