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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : September 09, 2015

Are your complaints and refund policies ready for the new legislation?

Key changes to consumer rights come into force in the UK soon and both online and offline businesses need to revisit their complaints and returns policies.

by Helen Leggatt

On October 1, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 comes into force. This new legislation will require that businesses, both on- and offline, must align their complaints and returns policies with it.

According to business minister Nick Boles, the legislation is being put into force to "make it easier for hardworking businesses to understand their responsibilities to customers and allowing customers to shop with confidence".

There are several key changes. One is a longer return period. Consumers must be given 30 days to return a faulty product and get a full refund. There has previously been no specific timeframe, instead described as a 'reasonable time'. The new Consumer Rights Act now gives clarity on this. Another change enables consumers to get a repair or replacement when digital content, such as games, music, movies, and ebooks, are faulty.

Consumers will now also have the right to challenge T&Cs that are unfair or hidden in the small print. The Act requires that the main elements of the contract - including the price and any other charges - are brought to consumers' attention. Previously these terms were only required to be legible.

Businesses will be given access to certified third-party mediators (Alternative Dispute Resolution providers) to assist in difficult disputes. This system promises to be both quicker and cheaper than court action.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: complaints, consumer act, law, refunds, retail, UK

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