The new Consumer Rights law coming into force on 1st October 2015 is significant: it introduces new rights for consumers as well as consolidating a lot of existing legislation, and it applies to almost all all businesses in the UK that supply goods, services or digital products to consumers.
A ‘consumer’ is an individual acting for purposes that are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession.
A ‘trader’ is a person acting for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession and it includes public sector authorities and government departments.
Every contract for services includes a term, implied by law, that:
- the trader will exercise reasonable skill and care in providing the service
- any information* given to the consumer about the service is included as a term in the contract if it is taken into account by the consumer when deciding to enter into the contract (unless the trader qualified he information at the time)
Where no price is specified in a contract, a term is implied that the consumer will pay a reasonable price for the service.
Where no time for performing the service is specified in the contract, the trader must perform the service within a reasonable time.
*Consumer Regulations that came into force in 2014 specify the information that a trader has to give to a consumer when entering into a contract- there are 24 separate items and these were mentioned in the blog post we wrote at the time.
None of these implied terms can be excluded in the contract.
Remedies for a consumer where the trader is in breach of any of these implied terms may comprise:
- repeat performance by the trader
- a price reduction (which in some circumstances can mean a full refund)
So, if a trader has a clause in his contract limiting his liability to 10% of the contract price, that is illegal and will not be binding on the consumer.
These statutory remedies do not prevent a consumer claiming damages or seeking some other order such as specific performance but the law says the consumer cannot recover twice for the same loss.
The Consumer Rights Act can be found here.