The Consumer Rights Act (2015) was enacted into law today which properly outlines the responsibilities retailers have to their customers in a transparent manner. Previously, the Sales of Goods Act (1979) provided information on consumer rights and constituted situations which were eligible for a full refund. Sadly, the Act contained a lack of clarity meaning retailers could use their own judgement to set the duration for returns. As a result, this ambiguity in the law meant it was unknown if 2, 5, or 20 days was enough to allow for a full refund.
Thankfully, the Consumer Rights Act has addressed this head-on and ensures customers can get a refund within 30 days of the initial purchase date if the item is faulty. This seems like a sensible procedure and provides peace-of-mine. Throughout Europe, companies are required by law to uphold a 2-year guarantee, but this only covers manufacturing flaws. Now the Consumer Rights Act is officially valid, customers can get a refund, and not just a replacement model which they might not want. In theory, this also covers digital purchases, meaning any game not-fit-for-purpose has to be exchanged. This becomes quite complicated as a corrupt audio file is easy to replace, but broken games could take months to fix, as shown by Batman Arkham Knight.
Here is a brief rundown of the new legislation’s basic principles:
- Must be of satisfactory quality, based on what a reasonable person would expect, taking into account the price
- Must be fit for purpose. If the consumer has a particular purpose in mind, he or she should make that clear
- Must meet the expectations of the consumer
As with any legal announcement, it will take some time to learn how it applies to digital transactions. Perhaps, a precedent is required to determine its effectiveness for broken games, or poor quality movie streams. Whatever the case, this is a pro-consumer move and should work well alongside Distance Selling Regulations in the UK.
Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.