My first seat as a trainee with Jackson Boyd is in our Dispute Resolution department. On a daily basis, I answer client’s queries and provide guidance on their rights as a consumer.
If you purchased a good or service after full date October 2015, your rights as a consumer are governed by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. This Act was designed to simplify consumer law, and resolve consumer disputes in a quick and efficient way. The Act replaced three major pieces of consumer legislation – the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and the Supply of Goods and Services Act.
The Act covers consumer rights in terms of goods and services.
The first thing to consider is the quality of the goods you have purchased. Under the Consumer Rights Act all products must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described.
- Satisfactory quality – Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive them. You should ask what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question.
- Fit for purpose- The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for, as well as any specific purpose you made known to the retailer before you agreed to buy the goods.
- As described- The goods supplied must match any description given to you, or any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.
If the goods you have purchased satisfy any of the criteria above, you have a claim under the Act. Every claim is different, therefore you should consider the circumstances under which you purchased the goods, and how you would like the situation to be resolved.
30 Day Right to Reject
Under the Act, you have a right to reject goods and obtain a full refund. This applies to goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. There is a strict timescale for this at 30 days, so keep this in mind when proceeding in this way.
Repair or Replacement
If your claim falls out with the 30 day time limit, you have the option to ask the retailer to repair or replace the goods which are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described.
You can state your preference, but ultimately the decision lies with the retailer.
If the retailer attempts repair works and these are unsuccessful, you have a further right to reject the goods and receive a full refund.
Further Time Limits
Within the first six months that you purchased the goods, the onus is on the retailer to prove that the fault wasn’t there when you bought it. If a fault develops after the first six months, the burden rests with you to prove that the product was faulty at the time of delivery.
In Scotland, you ultimately have five years to raise a claim in the sheriff court. This five year time period runs from the date that the good was purchased/ delivered.
When considering the above, the most important thing to keep in mind is that your options are stipulated by the time that has elapsed since you purchased the good.
If you have contracted with someone to provide you with a service, you may have a claim under the Act. Examples of a service range from building works on your property, to something as simple as a haircut.
The rules mean that all contracts for services must do the following:
- The trader must perform the service with reasonable care and skill.
- Information that is spoken or written is binding where the consumer relies on it.
- Where the price is not agreed beforehand, the service must be provided for a reasonable price. What is reasonable is judged against what other traders in the same field would charge. If the trader over-charges it will be quite obvious.
- Unless a particular timescale for performing the service is set out or agreed, the service must be carried out in a reasonable time. If the contract does not give a completion date the timescale must be reasonable. Reasonable depends on the circumstances of the service provided, for example where specialist skills or work are required or the work is quite complex.
If the service does not satisfy the above, you have a right under the Act to require repeat performance. If this is not possible or carried out, you then have a right to require a price reduction.
In order to discuss a consumer dispute or if you think you have a potential claim, please contact us online by clicking here or speak to a member of our specialist team on 0333 222 1855.