Consumer Rights Act comes into force

The Consumer Rights Act comes into force today (1 October) – and the changes will bring significant benefits for people buying goods and services.

The new Act, which updates and replaces existing laws, means retailers are now obliged to give consumers a full refund on items that turn out to be faulty for up to 30 days after the purchase.

The new rules also apply to digital content, such as e-books or online films, and means that they must be as described by the seller, of a satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If they are not, consumers will be entitled to a replacement or a full refund.

Another significant change will help anyone ending up in a dispute with a business due to unfair terms in a contract or if the business isn’t acting competitively. Rather than going through the courts, there is now a potentially cheaper and quicker way of resolving things called an Alternative Dispute Solution.

Cllr Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “People are often uncertain about their rights about returning faulty goods or what to do if a service they are being asked to pay for isn’t what they want – and that could be anything from having building work done at your house to something as simple as a bad haircut.

“This new Act should make it much simpler for people to find out their rights, and also sets out rules around things plenty of us now do online, such as buying e-books or downloading films and music,  but which weren’t previously very clear.”

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