A major change to consumer law is coming into force today.

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Changes to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 - such as enhanced consumer rights and restrictions on certain clauses - could mean that terms and conditions of businesses need to be updated and some business practices may need to be changed.

If you deal with consumers as opposed to business to business then you need to read more.

Sale of Goods

The Goods must still be of a satisfactory quality and fit for purpose, but there are now new

additional statutory rights:-

  • Goods must match any models seen by consumer (e.g. in a shop display)
  • Short term right to reject the goods. This is new and now 30 days as opposed to “a

reasonable time” – albeit can be shorter if the goods are perishable

  • After short term rights to reject are lost a consumer can still insist on a repair or a

replacement at the trader’s cost

  • A consumer has a right to a full refund or to reject the goods if a repair or replacement is not effected
  • Traders only get one chance to effect a repair or make a replacement
  • Pre- contract information given to consumers may form implied terms, for example,

information provided by sales or marketing teams.

In practice consumers are given an initial (time-limited) right to reject goods that are non-

conforming. This right can be exercised without the trader having the opportunity to repair or replace.

NEW - Digital Content

The Act brings digital content within the scope of consumer law by introducing:-

  • Specific quality standards for digital content
  • Remedies if such standards are not met

The majority of the provisions only apply to “paid for” digital content which must be:-

  • Of satisfactory quality
  • Fit for any particular purpose
  • As described

Remedies for non-conforming digital content are similar to goods (as described above) except there is now an automatic right to reject and no limit to the number of repairs.

Some provisions apply to free digital content.


The Act reflects current law: namely that services are to be provided with “reasonable care and skill”

but this is enhanced by:-

  • Specific statutory remedies for non-conforming services including the right to require a
  • Making pre contract information given to a consumer about either the services or the repeat performance and the right to price reduction (dependent on the extent of non-conformity) service provider an actual term of contract.

The consumer now has a new remedy for breach of contract for misleading information, rather than the more difficult to establish claim for misrepresentation.

Consumers are also entitled to a price reduction of services not provided within a reasonable time (where time had not been fixed).

Unfair terms

The Act makes some key changes by:-

  • Consolidating existing strands of law
  • Introducing new and more stringent tests regarding fairness of contractual terms
  • Introducing a new definition of consumer “notice”: any notice which relates

obligations between a trader and a consumer and that includes consumer rights.

  • Introducing a new “grey list” of potentially unfair contract terms.

Generally a term in unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes an imbalance in the parties, rights and obligations to the detriment of the consumer.

In addition, there is a general requirement that any term must be prominent, legible and transparent, namely in everyday plain and intelligible language.

In practice, this means that terms and conditions of sale should be reviewed including to make sure that the key terms of the contract and price terms are prominent and not hidden in small print.

Terminology needs to be everyday English, plain and intelligible and not lawyer speak or legal jargon.


Businesses dealing with consumers need to consider the enhanced consumer rights and remedies.

They need to review the terms and conditions of business and also their trading practices and procedures.

Please contact John Wilson, Kate Parker, Andrew Hill or Eleanor James in our corporate commercial department on 01228 552600 or 01524 548494 for further assistance.