Consumer Rights 2018

Many of us have experienced the disappointment of making a purchase only to discover that the item is faulty or of poor quality. So, how does the law protect the consumer in these circumstances?

 

Over time, consumer legislation has developed and simplified, making it easier for consumers to understand their rights. This guidance is intended to cover situations related to the purchase of goods and services as a consumer rather than a business. Should you find yourself facing concerns relating to faulty goods and services, it can help to understand your rights and gain confidence to enforce them.

 

The law -

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Consumer protection is mainly covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This piece of legislation came into force on the 1st October 2015 and replaced the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

 

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers any goods or services purchased after October 2015 and outlines that such goods and services are expected to be:

 

Satisfactory: it is presumed that any items you purchase will be of reasonable quality.

Fit for purpose: suitable for their intended use.

As described: matches the description they were sold with.

Reasonable care and skill: that the professional hired to provide the service has the relevant experience and provides the services to the standard of the average professional in those circumstances.

 

It is useful to note that the Consumer Rights Act 2015 awards an initial presumption in favour of the customer if a fault or issue arises. It stipulates that if a fault arises within the first 6 months from the date of purchase, it is presumed that the supplier is responsible for this fault. If an issue comes to light after the first 6 months, you are still protected under the law, however you must have evidence to demonstrate that the issue has arisen through no fault of your own.

 

Republic of Ireland

Consumers in the Republic of Ireland are protected under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980. The main principles under this legislation are in line with the ones mentioned above. These are:

 

Merchantable Quality: fault free, durable and fairly priced.

Fit for purpose: suitable for their intended use.

As described: match the description they were sold with.

Necessary skills: that the professional hired to provide the service has the relevant experience.

Proper care and diligence: that the service is provided to the standard expected of the average professional in those circumstances.

 

Remedies for faulty goods or services -

England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

If the seller or servicer has not acted in accordance with the main principles listed above, then there are three remedies available under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

 

1. Repair

If you have been supplied with goods which are not of satisfactory quality or have had a service carried out without reasonable care and skill, then you may be entitled to a repair.

 

Under the legislation, you are expected to allow the supplier to attempt repairs at their own cost in the first instance wherever reasonable.

 

Such repairs are expected to be carried out within a ‘reasonable’ period of time. What is reasonable depends upon your specific circumstances. To decide whether or not the time period is ‘reasonable’ consider the difficulty of the repair being carried out.

 

If the repairs routinely fail, then you can consider alternative remedies under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

 

2. Replacement

If you have been supplied with faulty or incorrect goods that cannot be repaired, you can ask the seller for a replacement product.

 

The replacement product should be like for like. You cannot demand that they provide you with a newer or more expensive model.

 

3. Refund

If a repair or a replacement is not possible then you can also ask for a refund from the supplier.

 

Please note that you are only entitled to a full refund within the first 30 days from the date of purchase. The 30-day rule is known as your 30 day right to reject. This involves you contacting the supplier in writing to inform them that you are formally ceasing ownership of the goods due to various issues and are requesting a full refund in line with your consumer rights.

 

If a fault arises after the first 30 days from the date of purchase, you may still be entitled to a refund but the supplier is able to make reasonable deductions for usage. So it is likely that you will only receive a partial refund.

 

Republic of Ireland

If the seller or servicer has not acted in accordance with the main principles listed above, then there are various remedies outlined under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act that you may be able to make use of:

 

1. Repair

It is important to note that under consumer protections in the Republic of Ireland, you are expected to speak to the seller promptly and offer a chance to repair as soon as you discover any issues.

 

This opportunity must be given to a seller before any other remedies under the law are explored. If a seller fails to carry out repairs within a reasonable period of time, as a consumer you are free to explore the other remedies available under the relevant legislation.

 

2. Third party remedy

If repairs are not carried out promptly or correctly by a seller, then you are entitled to take the item elsewhere to have the repairs carried out/replaced by a third party and then hold the seller responsible for the costs.

 

3. Refund

Alternatively, you have an opportunity to reject the goods and ask for a full refund. If this option is to be selected, you must ensure that you can demonstrate that you have acted with promptness.

 

For further advice or guidance in relation to your rights as a consumer, contact our 24/7 confidential EAP helpline:

0800 030 5182

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