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Consumer Rights Act Gives New Rights to Consumers

Consumers who buy digital products, such as music downloads or ebooks, now have new legal rights when these products are faulty.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1st October and introduced specific rules entitling shoppers to a repair or replacement when digital products are faulty.

The law will also clarify rules around refunds, repairs or replacements of faulty goods. This includes, for the first time, the creation of a specific timeframe of 30 days for consumers to reject a faulty item and get a full refund.

According to research from 2014, shoppers encountered more than 18 million problems with consumer goods and services in the preceding year, which left people £4.15 billion out of pocket. The Act will make it easier for consumers to know their rights and to shop with confidence, by streamlining eight pieces of legislation into one.

When a problem does occur, it will be easier for disputes to be settled. From 1st October 2015, certified Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) providers will be available to help when a dispute cannot be settled between the business and the consumer. The system offers a quicker and cheaper way of resolving disputes than going through the courts.

“Consumer law was crying out to be brought up to date to cope with the requirements and demands of today’s shoppers,” commented Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director. "Getting a refund or repair, dealing with issues with faulty digital downloads and understanding contracts should now all be much simpler.”

“Businesses must ensure their staff are aware of the changes so they’re not caught out short-changing customers or breaking the law,” he added.

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