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The Consumer Rights Act 2015

Posted by Invictus Chambers on 2 November 2015

In the first part of our review of the new Consumer Rights Act, Matthew Jackson, pupil at Invictus Chambers considers the revised rights of consumers and traders.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”) provides a new code for business to consumer contracts in the United Kingdom. The key provisions came into force for contracts entered into on or after 1st October 2015. The act has two primary effects. The first provides new rights for certain contracts, particularly in relation to the sale of digital goods. Those new provisions will be covered in a future post.

The second effect is the consolidation of the main consumer rights legislation into a single act. There are some modifications to the main rights discussed below. The main areas that still fall outside the CRA are the rights consumers have in relation to distance selling or doorstep contracts. The rights that existed previously in relation to cancellation, prescribed information etc remain in the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. Similarly the protection from unfair trading practices remains in the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

The CRA introduces new terminology throughout the act and is generally designed to use more consumer friendly language throughout. The key definitions (found in section 2) are now:

  • “Trader” replaces differing definitions in previous legislation and means:

    • “a person acting for purposes relating to that person’s trade, business, craft or profession, whether acting personally or through another person acting in the trader’s name or on the trader’s behalf.”

    • The CRA therefore clarifies that where a trader acts through an agent, they remain liable for the acts of the agent.

  • “Consumer” is now defined as:

    • “an individual acting for purposes that are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession”

The following statutes cease to have effect in relation to most consumer contracts, although any portions relating to business to business contracts generally remain in force:

  • Unfair Contract Terms Act 1974 (now Part 2 CRA)

  • Sale of Goods Act 1979 (now Part 1 Chapter 2 CRA)

    • This remains in force in respect of some key provisions including:

      • Sections 2 to 10 in respect of the formation of contracts

      • Sections 16 to 19 and 20A & 20B regarding transfer of property

      • Section 29 (except subsection (3) which does not apply) – rules about delivery

      • Section 34 – buyer’s rights to examine goods

      • Section 37 – buyer’s liability for not taking delivery of goods

      • Part V – rights of unpaid seller

      • Sections 49 and 50 (seller’s remedies)

      • Section 57 – auctions.

  • Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (now Part 1 Chapter 4 CRA)

  • Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 (now Part 2 CRA)

To carry on reading this review, and to learn how goods and services and unfair terms are covered by the new legislation, click here.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Invictus Chambers. 

Invictus Chambers

Written by Invictus Chambers

Invictus Chambers is a multi-disciplinary set of barristers chambers based in Temple, London and Bristol City Centre with expertise in civil, commercial, criminal, family law and immigration law litigation. As experts in their fields the barristers have acted as counsel in notable cases, including R (Oczelik) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2009] EWCA Civ 260 and McIntosh v McIntosh [2014] EWCA Civ 557, and regularly write publications on their areas of interest. The Chambers also offers public access and mediation services for clients. You can find out more about Invictus Chambers and the work that they do at http://invictuschambers.org/ or follow them on Twitter at @InvictusLawUK.

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