The Bill, which is predicted to boost the economy by £4 billion over the next decade, streamlines overlapping and complicated areas of consumer law from eight pieces of legislation into one easy to understand consumer Bill. It also introduces new rights for consumers and businesses.
Currently, consumers spend more than 59 million hours a year dealing with goods and services problems which cost them an estimated £3 billion a year. This deregulatory Bill will mean consumers and businesses will find it easier to resolve problems with faulty goods, substandard services and, for the first time, corrupted digital downloads.
In the Bill consumers will have the right to:
– Get some money back after one failed repair of faulty goods (or one faulty replacement).
– Demand that substandard services are redone or failing that get a price reduction.
– A set 30 day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund.
– Challenge terms and conditions which aren’t fair or are hidden in the small-print: for example airlines charging baggage fees will have to make them really clear when consumers are booking to avoid legal challenge.
Consumer Minister Jenny Willott said: “For far too long consumers and businesses have struggled to understand the rules that apply when buying goods and services. That is why the Consumer Rights Bill sets out in one place key consumer rights for goods, services and, for the first time, digital content.
“Well-informed, confident consumers are vital to building a stronger economy. Our plans will mean consumers can be confident about their rights in everyday situations and businesses will spend less time working out their legal obligations when they get complaints from customers.”
If passed into the law, the Bill will also give consumers the right to get a repair or a replacement of faulty digital content such as film and music downloads, online games and e-books helping the millions people who experience problems each year.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:”The Consumer Rights Bill brings consumer law into the 21st century, extending rights into digital content for the first time, and making it easier for people to understand their rights and challenge bad practice. This Bill provides a firm foundation for empowering consumers and will benefit businesses that treat their customers fairly.”
Businesses are also set to benefit. Many already provide their customers with enhanced rights. But even the best businesses still have to spend significant time and resources understanding the law and training their staff to apply it, more than they should have to – simplifying the law will reduce burdens.