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Regional businesses warned over update to consumer protection law

Businesses which supply goods and services to customers will be affected by an upcoming change to the laws which protect consumer rights, an expert has revealed.

Phil Brown, solicitor in the Corporate team at Napthens, is warning that consumer protection legislation has undergone a major overhaul recently and is set to be completed when the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 comes into force on October 1 this year.

The new law will clarify existing, and introduce new, rights for consumers, and will mean many businesses should review their terms and conditions, cancellation and refund policies and marketing claims.

Key changes include:

  • Consumers benefit from an extended ‘cooling-off’ cancellation period of 14 days. Certain pre-contract information must be given to consumers with a cancellation form, otherwise the cooling-off period can be extended to up to one year.
  • Consumers can reject faulty goods and demand a full refund, repair or replacement within 30 days, even if they have used the goods.
  • Specific statutory rights have been introduced for consumers purchasing digital content.

Phil Brown of Napthens is warning businesses which trade with consumers to be aware of the upcoming changes and to plan ahead.

He said: “Companies which are affected by these changes should review their existing consumer contracts to make sure they are compliant, and review processes when contracting with consumers. For instance, to ensure cancellation and returns policies are up-to-date.

“Review any marketing claims relating to the business, products or services to make sure they can be backed up, and ensure the appropriate customer services and other staff are adequately trained and informed of the new legislation.

“It’s vital to ensure affected companies are well prepared for the changes, but laying the groundwork now should ensure that the introduction goes without a hitch.”