Consumer Protection Laws

The Consumer Protection Act 2015 comes into force on 1 October 2015. It operates to consolidate and reform existing consumer protection laws and introduce new rights and remedies for the sale and supply of digital content. All businesses that trade directly with consumers are advised to familiarise themselves with the new legislation and make appropriate changes to their contracts, terms of conditions for trading and potentially even their trading practices to ensure that their contractual terms remain enforceable after 1 October 2015 and that their practices do not breach the new trading standards. For those businesses selling or supplying goods to consumers, in addition to the existing implied terms that the goods will be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and correspond to any given description, there will be a new implied term that a product must match any model seen or examined by a consumer prior to entering into the contract, such as a television set, there will be a new implied term that where a contract provides for the business to also install the product, that it has been correctly installed and, where the contract for goods includes digital content, there will be new implied terms that the digital content is of satisfactory quality, fit for any purposes made known by the customer and that it matches any given description; this implied term will extend to any free digital content supplied as part of other goods or services being supplied to the consumer under the contract. Significantly, in contracts for both the sale of goods and the sale of services to consumers, any pre-contractual information or statements, whether oral or in writing, given by the trader to the consumer, which the consumer takes into account, will form part of the contract and there will be an implied term that all such information and statements are accurate. This will extend to any marketing and sales literature and any statements made by employees on the shop floor or over the telephone. The Consumer Protection Act 2015 also overhauls previous unfair contract term legislation; businesses will no longer be able to limit or exclude liability for a breach of any of the implied terms in contracts for the sale of goods; and in the case of contracts for the supply of services businesses will only be able to limit or exclude liability for a breach of any of the implied terms to the extent that it does not prevent the consumer from recovering a sum at least equal to the amount of the purchase price. The legislation also introduces more examples of contractual terms which are to be regarded as being unfair, such as a term requiring a consumer to pay disproportionately high termination fees where the consumer cancels a contract and any contract terms which permit a business to retain sums paid by the consumer on termination without affording the consumer similar rights on termination. The extent of consumer remedies for breaches of implied terms is also being strengthened. If any goods do not conform to the implied contractual terms consumers will be given a new 30 day right to reject. This time period can be extended by agreement between the business and the consumer but it cannot be shortened. If the consumer exercises this right the business will be required to repay all sums paid by the consumer within 14 days using the same means as the consumer made payment and no fee can be charged for this refund, even if the business incurs a bank charge. In addition, the consumer may have the right to require the repair or replacement of a product, the right to a price reduction or a final right of rejection during the first 6 months of the contract being entered into, depending upon the nature of the breach. If any services do not conform to the implied contractual terms, consumers will be given either the right to ask for a repeat performance or the right to a reduction in price. These are new statutory rights which cannot be excluded by contract and are in addition to any other legal rights or remedies which the consumer may have. For further information please contact Rebecca Robinson on 0114 266 6660 or email

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