Consumers And Businesses 1 Step Closer To New Bill Of Rights


Consumers will be closer to having enhanced easy to understand consumer rights following the introduction of the new Consumer Rights Bill


Published on 24 January 2014

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by Jenny Willott MP

(WireNews+Co)

London, England

Department for Innovation & Skills
Department for Innovation & Skills

Consumers will be 1 step closer to having enhanced, easy to understand consumer rights following the introduction of the new Consumer Rights Bill to Parliament by Consumer Minister Jenny Willott today (23 January 2014).

The Bill, which is predicted to boost the economy by £4 billion over the next decade, streamlines overlapping and complicated areas of consumer law from 8 pieces of legislation into 1 easy to understand consumer Bill. It also introduces new rights for consumers and businesses.

Currently, consumers spend more than 59 million hours a year dealing with goods and services problems which cost them an estimated £3 billion a year. This deregulatory Bill will mean consumers and businesses will find it easier to resolve problems with faulty goods, substandard services and, for the first time, corrupted digital downloads.

In the Bill consumers will have the right to:

  • get some money back after 1 failed repair of faulty goods (or 1 faulty replacement)
  • demand that substandard services are redone or failing that get a price reduction
  • a set 30 day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund
  • challenge terms and conditions which aren’t fair or are hidden in the small-print: for example airlines charging baggage fees will have to make them really clear when consumers are booking to avoid legal challenge

Consumer Minister Jenny Willott said:

"For far too long consumers and businesses have struggled to understand the rules that apply when buying goods and services. That is why theConsumer Rights Bill sets out in 1 place key consumer rights for goods, services and, for the first time, digital content.

"Well-informed, confident consumers are vital to building a stronger economy. Our plans will mean consumers can be confident about their rights in everyday situations and businesses will spend less time working out their legal obligations when they get complaints from customers."

If passed into the law, the Bill will also give consumers the right to get a repair or a replacement of faulty digital content such as film and music downloads, online games and e-books helping the millions people who experience problems each year.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd, said:

"The Consumer Rights Bill brings consumer law into the 21st century, extending rights into digital content for the first time, and making it easier for people to understand their rights and challenge bad practice. This Bill provides a firm foundation for empowering consumers and will benefit businesses that treat their customers fairly."

Businesses are also set to benefit. Many already provide their customers with enhanced rights. But even the best businesses still have to spend significant time and resources understanding the law and training their staff to apply it, more than they should have to – simplifying the law will reduce burdens.

New measures in the draft Bill that will benefit businesses include:

  • a new requirement for enforcers such as Trading Standards Officers to give 48 hours notice to businesses when carrying out routine inspections, saving business £4.1 million per year. Trading Standards Officers will still be able to carry out unannounced inspections where they suspect illegal activity
  • faster and lower cost remedies for businesses who have been disadvantaged from breaches in competition law
  • a reduction in on going training costs. Businesses will spend less time understanding their obligations or considering different scenarios when training staff

Tom Ironside, BRC Director of Business and Regulation, said:

"The new Consumer Bill of Rights is a practical and well balanced set of measures to make rights and duties clearer, both for businesses and consumers. We welcome this initiative, which will help to build trust with customers.

"We also appreciate the sensible approach BIS has taken in drafting the Bill, working in close co-operation with us and our members. We will examine the full Bill with interest and look forward to continuing to engage constructively as it progresses towards becoming law."

The government response to the House of Commons Business Select Committee report into the draft Consumer Rights Bill was also published today (23 January 2014).

 


For more information about this press release including examples of where a Bill of Rights might be useful, Editor's Notes and contact details visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/consumers-and-businesses-1-step-closer-to-new-bill-of-rights

 


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Posted 2014-01-24 11:45:00