New consumer rights bill good news for shoppers

12 June 2013

Consumers will be able to get a refund on a faulty item if they return it within 30 days of purchase, under new proposals from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The draft Consumer Rights Bill will "streamline" eight pieces of legislation into one bill, to give people clear information on their rights.

Consumer minister Jo Swinson said: "For too long the rules that apply when buying goods and services have been murky for both consumers and businesses.

"We want to make sure consumers are confident about their rights in everyday situations be it their washing machine or an online game they purchased always crashing."

Under the draft bill, consumers can return faulty goods within 30 days of purchase and get a full refund. They will also be entitled to their money back after one failed repair of a faulty item (or one faulty replacement).

For services, such as having work done by a builder, consumers would be able to get a reduction on the price if the service provider does not supply what they said they would. This also includes things that are verbally agreed.

For example, if a builder says before the work is started they will have it done by a certain date, they must do so – within a reasonable time frame or the customer will be entitled to a discount.

The bill will also clarify the rights for consumers when they buy digital content, which includes apps, and streaming movies and TV shows online. If the product doesn't work then you are entitled to a refund, repair or replacement.

Under the proposals, Trading Standards would see its powers extended, with the regulator able to take a firm to court if they do not comply with the rules.


Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director, said: "The new Bill of Rights will bring consumer law into the 21st century at last, making it easier for everyone to know their rights and giving people more power to challenge bad practices.

"There are many welcome measures in the bill, including reforming the law on unfair terms and conditions and giving consumers clear rights when digital downloads go wrong."

While the bill is in its early stages, with it still to go before the House of Commons and the House of Lords, BIS hopes it will be introduced as soon as possible.

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