The Consumer Rights Act digested
We recently saw 1st October grabbing the headlines for the introduction of a smoking ban in a car containing child occupants, however the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act appears to have attracted less attention. Here, GEM gives an overview of the new law, from a car buying and repair perspective.
What is the new law?
It replaced the previous Sales of Goods Act from 1st October 2015, although it contains many parts of the previous legislation.
What are the main changes?
Within a car purchase situation, the new Act gives extra protection, if you believe that you have been mis-sold, or have bought, a faulty vehicle.
One of the primary differences is that you can return the vehicle and receive a full refund within 30 days. Previously, the vendor had to put the fault right.
After then, up to six months post-sale, the vendor has to repair (or replace) a faulty component but, instead of having multiple chances to repair the problem, only one opportunity is allowed. As an aside, this can make things very difficult, in the case of intermittent faults, which can be very tricky for an honest repairer to eradicate.
If the repair is impossible, within six months, the buyer can insist on a reduced price, or even a full, (or partial) refund.
After six months, the buyer will have to prove that the fault was present at the point of sale.
Naturally, any legislation to improve consumer rights is a good thing, especially if it helps to squeeze-out any unscrupulous traders.
However, cars are complex machines and even a vehicle that has been sold by the most honest trader may develop a fault within six months.
In our experience, the best results come not from not involving the courts with disputes but from both sellers and traders working together to achieve a reasonable and fair outcome.
Being such new legislation, we will need to see how effective and fair it is overall, especially after any test cases are presented to the courts.