Consumer protection

Supporting detail:

Consumer Rights Act 2015

Consumer law is changing in 2015, as the Consumer Rights Act and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive come into force.

The major changes, when the Consumer Rights Act comes into force in October, will cover:

  • what should happen when goods are faulty
  • unfair terms in a contract
  • what happens when a business is acting in a way which isn’t competitive
  • written notice for routine inspections to be given by public enforcers, such as Trading Standards
  • greater flexibility for public enforcers to respond to breaches of consumer law, such as seeking redress for consumers who have suffered harm

As well as these changes there are 2 new areas of law covering:

  • what should happen when digital content (eg online films, games, e-books) is faulty - the act now gives consumers a clear right to repair or replacement
  • how services should match up to what has been agreed, and what should happen when they do not or when they are not provided with reasonable care and skill (eg giving some money back if it is not practical to bring the service into line with what was agreed)

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 stands alongside the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (which amend the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008) to create a greatly simplified body of consumer law. Taken together, they set out the basic rules which govern how consumers buy and businesses sell to them in the UK.

If you are a business, you can find more information and guidance at the Trading Standards Institute’s Business Companion. Each guidance document provides helpful ‘point of sale’ information - simple wording which can be displayed to help staff and customers understand the new rights.

If you would like to speak to someone about the changes, call the Business Support Helpline.

If you are a consumer, find out more at Citizen’s Advice.