Consumer rights are something that we all just expect to have when we should be celebrating that we have them as it’s only in the last 100 years that consumers have been given these rights and things used to be much different. Now there are plenty of rules and regulations in the UK that are in place to help protect any consumers from things such as scams. The UK followed the US’s lead when it came to consumer rights. Back in the 1960’s President J.F.Kennedy outlined what he thought consumer rights should be in a speech, this speech is widely remembered and March 15th, the anniversary of the speech, has become ‘World Consumer Rights Day which is widely celebrated. After seeing the popularity of these rights in the US the UK also committed to consumer rights in the 1960s. Since then, the rules and regulations have had to adapt to an ever-changing society and have become much more complex. Keep reading to find out what the rules and regulations in the UK are.
What are consumer rights?
As briefly mentioned consumer rights are relatively recent rights that protect any consumers when buying a product or a service. In the past things like this didn’t exist as there were no real means for quality check and no real framework in place to be able to handle things such as returns. Consumer rights are extremely important as without them if you were given a damaged item, the wrong item, an item of lower quality than advertised, a partial item, or a different item than what you paid for, there would be nothing that you could do about it as you’d have no rights. Say for example you purchase new broadband and you should always compare broadband deals before buying, but if you forget and purchase the wrong one, it is thanks to consumer rights that you can return and cancel it to purchase the one you prefer.
The Consumer Rights Act (2015)
The Consumer Rights Act is the most important and relevant consumer rights regulation in the UK. It highlights the standard that consumers expect when entering into a contract for a product or service, these are that of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and are as described. This act was a massive win for consumers as they now had additional protection against those providing the products/services. As most of you will know over time your consumer rights begin to change, it was this act that set out that within 30 days of purchase if you purchase something and it does not meet all 3 of the standards then you absolutely have the right to a refund. After 30 days this changes, you may ask for a refund but the person who sold you the product now does have the right to refuse this. Within 6 months you can still return an item that has had a fault since it was delivered, if the place you’re returning it to can’t prove that the fault wasn’t there when you received the item then you are entitled to a refund but after 6 months if you try this you will have to prove that the fault was always there to get a refund.
Now more than ever people don’t actually go into shops to do their shopping but more people tend to order online as it’s quicker and more convenient. Luckily, there are rules about online purchases which are also laid out in the Consumer Rights Act. These state that if you purchase something online, so without seeing it in person, the Consumer Rights Act will cover this so your purchase will be held to the same standard as in shops. The period of time in which you have the right to a refund is different, it is from when you purchase the order till 14 days after you’ve received the delivery. If you’re ordering online there are some more rules around the purchase as it has to be delivered to you, The person shipping your item is responsible and the act again protects consumers, if you don’t receive the item you ordered within 30 days then you would be entitled to a full refund unless you agreed with the supplier that a later time frame was acceptable.
Digital content is another area that is covered by the 2015 Consumer Rights Act. Digital content is classed under the act of anything produced and supplied in digital forms, such as films and games. If digital content is faulty then you can request for it to be repaired, if it cannot be then you can ask for a price reduction and this can be up to 100% of the cost.