In the UK there is a fairly comprehensive consumer rights framework designed to protect individuals when dealing with businesses. From protection when buying products and services online, to getting a refund from your bank if you’ve been the victim of card fraud, consumer rights legislation in the UK has many different situations covered.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
When this legislation came into force it replaced the Sale of Goods Act, Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and the Supply of Goods and Services Act. It provides various protections, including with respect to:
- The products you buy – these must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose and as described. This includes digital products, so anything purchased online must match the description you were given, for example.
- Your right to reject – the act gives you 30 days to reject items that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described.
- Delivery – until the goods are in your physical possession, the retailer remains responsible for them.
- Unfair contract terms – unless terms in the contract are prominent and transparent, they can be assessed for fairness. Contract terms found to be unfair can be ignored and you may also be able to cancel the contract without a fee.
Consumer Rights Act travel amendments
From October 2016, the Consumer Rights Act was extended to enable consumers to make a compensation claim for poor service on almost all transport services, including train and coach journeys.
Consumer Contracts Regulations
These regulations give you the right to receive certain information, including a description of the goods and the total cost of goods. They also give you cancellation rights if you have entered into a contract, other than in a store, for example at a distance over the phone, online, from a catalogue or face-to-face with someone who has visited your home.
Consumer Credit Act (1974)
UK consumers are protected by this piece of legislation with respect to entering into loan or hire agreements. The Act entitles you to a cooling off period once you’ve entered into a loan or hire agreement and sets out key information that must be provided by a creditor, such as the rate of interest and any conditions attached to the interest rate. It also provides extra protection for purchases made on your credit card.
Consumer Protection Act 1987
If a product you have purchased has caused damage, death or injury as a result of being defective then this legislation gives you the right to make a claim against the producer. Products covered will be anything that can be packaged up and sold.
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
These regulations are designed to protect consumers from unfair trading practices and misleading and aggressive tactics. This includes a list of practices that will always be considered to be unfair and which have been banned, including “limited” offers – where it is falsely stated that the product will be available for a short period of time – and “bait and switch” where one product is offered with the intention of selling something different.
Payment Services Regulations 2017 (PSD2)
If you’re the victim of a card fraud then it’s these regulations that require your bank to refund you for any fraudulent transactions that have resulted in you losing money. There are a few conditions, including that you report the loss or theft of a card, or the fraudulent transactions, straight away.
Package Travel Regulations
If you book a package holiday that isn’t as described in the brochure when you were sold it then you may be able to make a claim against the operator using these regulations.
Misrepresentation Act 1967
This Act is designed to prevent consumers from being convinced to buy something or enter into a contract on the basis of a false or fraudulent claim. If that’s the situation you find yourself in then the Act may enable you to claim compensation.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR gives consumers much more control over the way businesses handle their data. It enables you to find out what data is held about you, ask that it is all deleted and means you can claim for misused data, among many other things.
Denied Boarding EU Regulation (Regulation 261/2004 EC)
If you are departing from an airport within the EU (regardless of airline) and your flight is delayed or cancelled then this regulation entitles you to compensation. The exception is if the airline can prove that the cancellation is caused by extraordinary circumstances that they couldn’t have avoided.
You can find out more about your consumer rights at Which?