It is two years since the Consumer Rights Act (“CRA”) 2015 came into force in the UK. So, what impact has it had on consumers and business?
In October 2015, the CRA was a significant overhaul of consumer rights. Consolidating three existing Acts into a single piece of legislation it aimed to provide better protection of individual consumers and updating consumer rights in line with our modern, digital world.
The CRA is made up from:
- Sale of Goods Act 1979;
- The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977; and
- The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.
The CRA confirmed the standards that business should meet on supplying goods and performing services for consumers and the remedies available if they don’t. It also clarified the law in terms of unfair contract terms and consumer notices. However, there are some regulations and parts of legislation which you must read in conjunction to achieve an overall picture. Such that the overall intention to completely consolidate legislation has not been fully achieved.
Impact of Consumer Rights
One way of measuring the impact of the CRA is to consider reported consumer cases. Surprisingly, there has been little case law on the subject of businesses meeting standards against which we can measure the CRA’s impact. It could be that, in the wake of this legislation, consumers are more fairly treated by business to minimize claims or adverse publicity. But, perhaps more likely, consumers are still not fully aware of their rights under the CRA or they shy away from the uncertainty of litigation on consumer matters. If the latter holds true, as consumer confidence and knowledge of the CRA grows, we will probably see a rise in case law.
Two years on, it is really too soon to tell what difference the CRA will make to business and consumer relationships. On saying this, it doesn’t appear to have been the seismic shift in consumer and business relationships forecast. Businesses should not, however, be complacent. The raft of consumers rights and remedies and the effect of both could be disastrous to their finance and reputation.
If you are a business or an individual needing further advice on the Consumer Rights Act or if you have a consumer dispute, contact one of our specialist solicitors for an initial consultation.