Consumer rights strengthened by new Act

Editorial image
Editorial image

The Trading Standards Service has today (Thursday) welcomed the strengthening of consumer’s rights with the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act.

The new Act replaces the Sale of Goods Act and the Supply of Goods and Services Act, which will still apply to purchases made before October 1. For the first time there are now clear rules in place for what should happen if a service is not carried out with reasonable care and skill or as agreed with the consumer.

Stephen Thompson, Consumerline Manager, said: “The introduction of the Consumer Rights Act is good news for consumers in Northern Ireland. It provides greater certainty as to what remedies are available to consumers if they buy goods that turn out to be faulty, or if a service is not carried out properly.

“The law also states that every contract to supply a service, such as getting a haircut, or having home improvements carried out must be performed with reasonable care and skill. If no price is agreed in advance, the price should be a reasonable one. If a service is not carried out with reasonable care and skill, the consumer is entitled to have the work repeated at no extra cost, or to a price reduction.”

The main changes are:

* 30 days to get a refund for faulty goods - Consumers are now entitled to get a full refund if goods are faulty within 30 days of purchase or delivery.

* Repair of faulty goods. If you are outside the time limit for an automatic refund, the trader should repair or replace the item. However, if one attempt to repair is unsuccessful, you’re entitled to ask for a full refund or price reduction, so long as it is within six months of purchase. This is not the case for motor vehicles, where a reasonable reduction may be made for the use you’ve had of the vehicle. If you don’t want a refund or price reduction, you have the right to request another repair or replacement at no cost to you.

* Digital content rights. This new law gives consumers rights in relation to online digital content that is paid for, digital content supplied free with other paid for items and digital content supplied on a physical medium, such as a DVD.

* The new law also consolidates the legislation on unfair contract terms.

To find out more log on to the NI Direct website or contact Consumerline on 0300 123 6262 or email