As a business you have until 1 October this year to make sure your staff are aware of the rest of the changes being brought in by the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
The Act replaces various laws surrounding business-to-consumer transactions, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. It serves to outline a clearer path for consumers to understand their rights and the solutions available to them should services or goods fail to be fit for purpose.
There will also be clarification on the periods for repair, replacement and refunds on goods and services and the process by which small businesses can take legal action against larger companies that are breaking competition laws.
If a service fails to meet the provisions of a contract, then consumers will have statutory remedies of ‘repeat performance’ and will also be entitled to a price reduction. If as a business you breach your duty to provide services with ‘reasonable skill and care’, or fail to comply with information you have provided to the consumer about the service, then the consumer will be entitled to repeat performance or a price reduction.
If the service is not delivered within a reasonable time, then the consumer will be entitled to a price reduction.
Whilst the consumer now has a statutory right to these remedies in these circumstances, it does not mean they are excluded from seeking alternative remedies, for example damages, provided they do not attempt to double recover for the same loss.
The consumer is now, in effect, in a better position and will benefit from greater clarity on their rights.
Help Available from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute
Chartered Trading Standards Institute chief executive officer Leon Livermore said, ‘The Chartered Trading Standards Institute and trading standards officers are committed to working with businesses – small, medium, or large – to help them understand complicated legislation that impacts day-to-day operations. In preparation for the implementation of the Consumer Rights Act, CTSI has developed reference tools through its Business Companion website. The site helps business owners understand the Act and new or changing responsibilities specifically related to their business.’
In the meantime, if you are unsure of what you need to do to implement the new laws, you could speak to your bookkeepers who will be able to guide you on how the changes will start to take shape for your business.