The act, which came into force on 1 October and which replaces multiple pieces of legislation, covers all manner of purchases, ranging from used cars to music streaming subscriptions.
Here’s our round-up of the changes that are likely to affect you:
Longer refund periods
If you’ve bought faulty goods, you will now have 30 days in which to claim a full refund.
This is great news for consumers who were previously only entitled to a refund for a ‘reasonable time’ – a pretty vague definition. (You can also choose to have the item repaired or replaced if you prefer.)
In addition to the initial 30-day window, six months after a purchase has been made, the retailer or business will have just one opportunity to replace or repair your item. If that is unsuccessful you are entitled to a full or partial refund.
New rights for online digital purchases
Consumers will now have rights when it comes to purchasing digital goods, including ebooks, online films and games and music downloads.
If they are considered faulty you will be eligible for a refund and potentially further remuneration if a download, for example, infects your laptop or computer with a virus.
Added protection for second-hand goods, including used cars
Second-hand goods bought from a retailer are also covered under the new legislation. This means that if the goods you’ve received are faulty, you have the right to return them.
This protection also extends to used cars. So if you’re in the market for a used car, the act gives you the same level of protection as you would have if you were making a purchase on the high street. If you find an undeclared fault with the car you’ve bought, you are entitled to a refund 30 days after purchasing it from the trader.
So if you’re in the market for a used car, the act gives you the same level of protection as you would have if you were making a purchase on the high street
While a repair or replacement can be offered within the six months following, motorists need to bear in mind that a refund may include any depreciation the car would have during the six-month timeframe.
Bear in mind that if you buy a car from a private seller, you will not be protected under the new act as the sale is considered a civil matter between two parties. Les Roberts explains what to look out for when buying a used car here.
Greater clarity on small print and terms and conditions
Terms and conditions set out by businesses must now also be clearer and not hidden in the small print so consumers are not misled about what’s on offer.
Improved rights when buying services
The act says that services must be carried out with ‘reasonable care’ and if they are not, you can either request that they are redone or ask for some of your money back.
Right to dispute
Rather than racking up expensive bills in small claims courts, consumers will be able to put their case to an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) provider if they do not feel their dispute with a business has been resolved.
An example of an ADR provider is the Consumer Ombudsman where you can lodge your complaint for free and the Ombudsman will try to seek a resolution between you and the business you’ve complained about.
For more information on how to lodge a complaint with the Consumer Ombudsman, click here.
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