The Consumer Rights Act 2015

The Consumer Council

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 replaces three major pieces of consumer legislation:

  • The Sale of Goods Act 1979;
  • Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994; and
  • Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 applies to any goods, services or digital content you buy. It was introduced to simplify, strengthen and modernise consumer law, to give consumers clearer rights.

Goods Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015

Any products you buy (both digital and physical) must be:

i. Satisfactory quality - This means that the goods should meet the standard any reasonable person would expect, taking into account the description of the goods, the price paid, and how they were made. Deciding whether something is satisfactory quality will include the state and condition of the goods such as their appearance, quality of finish, freedom from minor defects, safety and durability.

ii. Fit for purpose - The goods should be fit for the purpose they are supplied for. This should include any specific purpose you made a retailer/ business aware of before you agreed to buy the goods. For example, if you made it clear the bicycle you are wishing to buy is specifically for off-road cycling.

iii. As described - The goods supplied by a business/trader must match:

  • Any description given to you; and
  • Any models or samples shown to you at the time of purchase.

Returning a faulty product

Your contract is with the business/trader and by law they must work with you to resolve the issue. If they tell you to contact the manufacturer, do not be fobbed-off. If the trader wants to claim any refund or expense incurred, they can do this separately with the manufacturer. If there has been a breach of your consumer rights (satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, or as described), there are three stages of remedies: 1. Short-term right to reject; 2. Repair or replacement; and 3. Price reduction or final right to reject. Exactly what remedy is available to you, will depend on how long you have had the goods.

Up to 30 days after purchase

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, you have a legal right to reject and get a full refund for goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described.This right is limited to 30 days from the date you take ownership of the product. After 30 days, you will not be legally entitled to a full refund if your item develops a fault, although some sellers may offer you an extended refund period. This right to a refund does not apply to products that have been bought as downloads (e.g. music, games or apps). However, you can ask for a digital product to be repaired, or replaced, if it develops a fault. If this is not possible, or is unsuccessful, you have the right to receive a price reduction.

After 30 days After

30 days you must give the business/ trader one opportunity to repair, or replace, any goods or digital content that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described. This will be at the business/traders expense. You can state your preference, but the retailer can choose whichever would be the cheapest or easiest option. If the attempt at a repair or replacement is unsuccessful, you can then claim a refund or a price reduction if you wish to keep the product. This would be at the business/traders expense.

Under The Consumer Rights Act 2015, you are entitled to a full or partial refund instead of a repair or replacement if any of the following are true:

  • the cost of the repair or replacement is disproportionate to the value of the goods or digital content;
  • a repair or replacement is impossible;
  • a repair or replacement would cause you significant inconvenience; or
  • the repair would take an unreasonably long amount of time.

If a repair or replacement is not possible, or the attempt at repair fails, or the first replacement also turns out to be defective, you have a further right to receive a refund of up to 100% of the price you paid, or to reject the goods for a full refund. If you do not want a refund and still want your product repaired or replaced, you have the right to request that the retailer makes further attempts at a repair or replacement.

Digital content

Digital content refers to products such as downloaded or streamed music, apps, games, e-books and films. Just like goods, digital content must be:

  • of satisfactory quality;
  • fit for a particular purpose; and
  • as described by the seller.

If digital content breaches one of the above conditions you have the right to a repair or replacement of the digital content you have bought. If a repair or replacement is not possible, or it does not fix the problem, you can ask for a price reduction. This can be up to 100% of the cost of the digital content. If any device or other digital content you own is damaged as a result of faulty downloaded digital content you must be compensated for the damaged caused.


Services covers work that you have carried out in your home or elsewhere, for example a haircut, building work, gardening or repair work. Services can be provided alone, or they may be provided with goods, for example, the fitting of a new kitchen. The Consumer Rights Act 2015, says services:

  • must be performed with reasonable care and skill;
  • must be performed in line with any written or spoken information provided by the business/trader;
  • Where a price has not been agreed beforehand, the service must be provided for a reasonable price;
  • Unless a timescale for performing the service is set out or agreed, the service must be carried out in a reasonable time.

If the service you have been provided does not satisfy these criteria, you are entitled to the following remedies:

  • The trader should either redo the element of the service that is inadequate, or perform the whole service again, at: no extra cost; within a reasonable time; and without causing you any significant inconvenience.
  • Where a repeat performance is impossible, for example wedding photography, or it cannot be done within a reasonable time or without causing significant inconvenience, you can claim a price reduction. This could be up to 100% of the cost, and the trader should refund you within 14 days of agreeing to a refund.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 also states that a service must conform to any information provided by the business/trader about themselves (for example a qualification or endorsement), or the service they are providing. This applies to information provided in writing or verbally.

If the trader makes a statement about the service or works to be undertaken, and this influences your decision to enter into a contract with them, or choose a particular solution, the trader is legally bound by the statement if it proves to be wrong.

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