Whilst predominately we help our clients with commercial contracts and other business law stuff we have also helped and advised on Consumer Law. Not only to our clients who may have issues when selling to consumers but also when it is them who have been treated unfairly by a company.
Despite being phrased in different ways, the majority of the definitions of consumer found in EU legislation are all very similar. Basically defined as, a person who purchases goods and/or services for personal use which is outside his or her trade, business or profession. There is a common misunderstanding that as a sole trader you are considered a consumer but this is not always the case and more confusingly the Package Travel Directive for example extends the definition of consumer to include companies and business travellers.
However for this blog to avoid confusion we are talking specifically about the items you can buy as a natural person for personal use.
The Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force on 1 October 2015 and represented the biggest overhaul of consumer law for many decades. It replaced the 3 key pieces of legislation Sales and Goods Act, Unfair Terms Consumer Contracts Regulations, and Sale of Goods and Services Act. The law is now clearer and easier to understand laying out the following in its simplest form.
If you are buying a product online or have asked for a particular colour, material or finish you would hope that the product you receive matches that description! The goods you receive must match any description given to you, or even any samples shown to you at the time of purchase.
There are two sides to this, what the product is usually used for, and what you specifically wish to use the product for. For example, if you were buying a basic phone it would be reasonable to expect the product to make and receive phone calls, therefore if it did not, it would not be fit for purpose and the seller would be in breach. If you wanted to use the phone to take photos, and the product does not have this feature the seller would not be in breach unless of course you specifically told the seller this was what you wanted it for.
Goods shouldn’t be faulty or damaged when you receive them (unless they were described that way). You should consider what a reasonable person would consider satisfactory for the goods in question. For example, you would expect a £100 pair of shoes to last longer than a £10 pair.
If any of the above has not been adhered to you have several remedies that can be relied on.
If you are having any trouble with sellers not providing you with satisfactory goods, or not allowing you your remedies in accordance with the above, get in touch and we can help!