Consumer Rights Act to Give Consumers New Legal Rights!

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Consumers downloading music or buying ebooks are today (1 October 2015) being given new legal rights. Responding to the surge in the number of consumers buying digital content, the Consumer Rights Act     will introduce specific rules entitling shoppers to a repair or replacement when digital products are faulty.


Shoppers are increasingly spending their money on digital content, with more than £2.8 billion     spent on downloaded music, video and games in 2014, up 18% from the previous year.


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.


Research from 2014 shows that shoppers encountered more than 18 million problems with consumer goods and services in the preceding year, leaving 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 8 pieces of legislation into 1.


Key changes include:

  • this will be the first time that consumers have had clear legal rights for digital content – specifically, the Act gives consumers the right to repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online films and games, music downloads, and ebooks
  • a 30 day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund, the law was previously unclear on how long this period should last
  • after 30 days, retailers have one opportunity to repair or replace any goods and the consumer can choose whether they want the goods to be repaired or replaced – if the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, the consumer can then claim a refund or a price reduction if they wish to keep the product
  • for the first time there are clear rules for what should happen if a service is not carried out with reasonable care and skill or as agreed with the consumer – the service provider will have to put the service right in line with what was agreed or, if that is not practical, must give some money back
  • consumers being able to challenge terms and conditions which are not fair or are hidden in the small print


When a problem does occur, it will be easier for disputes to be settled. From 1 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.


  1. Advice for businesses is available via the Trading Standards Business Companion website

  2. Consumers can find out about their new rights by visiting the Citizens Advice website

  3. Information of unfair contract terms is available to view online at Unfair contract terms: CMA37

  4. A list of Alternative Dispute Providers is available from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute

  5. Business can speak directly to an advisor about the changes by calling the business support helpline


All information can be found here: