Consumer Rights Legislation
The consumer legislation in force is not retrospective and therefore contracts entered into before the coming into force date of legislation will be governed by the legislation that preceded it.
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (CPUT Regulations)
The CPUT Regulations prohibit misleading and aggressive sales practices ie falsely stating limited availability of a product in order to make quick sales. Breach of the Regulations can attract criminal liability for a number of parties.
The CPUT Regulations implement the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (2005/29/EC) (UCPD), which were amended by the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/870) (CPUT Amendment Regulations) on 1 October 2014.
The current regulations are consumer centric and even introduced a civil right of redress by consumers against companies they believe to be using misleading or aggressive practices.
Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA)
The CRA applies to contracts made on or after 1 October 2015 (or 1 October 2016 for certain consumer transport contracts). As mentioned above, the previous legislation ie Sale of Goods Act 1979, will apply to contracts before this date.
On review the CRA can be split in three parts:
· Part 1 sets out a consumer’s statutory rights in respect of contracts for goods, services and digital content. It also covers certain remedies which may be available.
· Part 2 imposes a newly formed fairness test. The aim of the test was to bring about transparency in written terms. The government have gone one step further and even included a grey list of terms. Practically giving examples of terms which are likely to be considered as being unfair.
· Part 3 deals with miscellaneous and general matters. This includes enforcement, private actions in competition law, the duty of letting agents to publicise fees and secondary ticketing.
The CRA implements a number of European directives, for example:
· Unfair Contract Terms Directive (93/13/EEC) (Unfair Contract Terms Directive)
· Parts of the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU) (Consumer Rights Directive)
· Sales and Guarantees Directive (1999/44/EC) (Sales and Guarantees Directive)
Sale of Goods Act 1979
(SGA - certain sections only)
The introduction of the CRA lead to the repeal of the majority of the provisions of the SGA apart from legislation relating to the transfer of ownership.
Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/3134) (CCRs)
The CCRs apply to all contracts within their scope entered into, on, or after 13 June 2014 and implement most of the Consumer Rights Directive.
The CCRs deal with:
• Pre-contract information provided to consumers.
• The rights to cancel contracts.
• Basic rates for telephone lines.
Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/3110) (Payment Surcharges Regulations)
The Regulations apply to contracts entered into on or after 6 April 2013.
The Regulations implement Article 19 of the Consumer Rights Directive. Banning traders from charging excessive payment surcharges.
Price Marking Order 2004 (SI 2004/102)
Prices must simply be provided in sterling otherwise traders must provide specified information about exchange rates and commissions.
Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002/2013) (E-Commerce Regulations) implement the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC).
Providers of information society services (including online traders) must:
• Provide certain information about the corporation and about how contracts are concluded, especially electronically.
• Ensure that commercial communications are clearly identifiable.
• Acknowledge receipt of an order placed through technological means without undue delay.
Provision of Services Regulations 2009
The PSRs apply to the majority of private sector businesses in the UK providing services toconsumers.
Under the PSRs, a trader must:
• Provide consumers with certain information about itself.
• Deal with customer complaints promptly.
• Not discriminate against consumers based on residency.
Equality Act 2010
Suppliers of goods and services (including facilities) to consumers must comply with the rules against discrimination, harassment and victimisation laws.