Consumer Issues

Consumer Issues

The relationship between businesses and consumers creates many rights which are heavily protected by the laws in England & Wales. This relationship has never been more relevant given the current economic environment and unfortunately, as a result of the crisis the relationship can become strained.

Whether you sell or purchase goods or services from a shop, another person, or across the internet, legal rights are created between the business and the consumer. Rights also arise when consumers hire goods or enter into a hire-purchase agreement or buy goods on credit. Essentially when a consumer buys goods, they enter into a contract with the seller. The rights however differ according to the situation.

There are various elements of Consumer Law that protect your rights and that can be used to help you solve a case against a retailer or sales company or against a consumer.

Click on the Acts to learn more:

The Sales of Goods Act 1979 (as amended)

This Act provides for a range of rights where a consumer purchases goods from a seller. Under this Act an item must be:

• Of a satisfactory quality – in that they be free of any defects and that they last for the time you would expect it to;
• Fit for purpose – in that it is fit for the use described and advertised and any other specific use that you may want provided you made this clear to the seller;
• Be as described – in that it matches the description on packaging and in advertising or orally.

If an item fails to meet these conditions, it is faulty and you will usually have the right to a repair, replacement or refund.

The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000

This Act protects consumers’ rights where an item is purchased via the Internet or over the phone. The Regulations set clear guidelines on the information that the seller must tell you about product or service and the cost of the item and of delivery. The Seller must also provide a seven day cancellation period known as the ‘cooling off period’.
The Consumer Credit Act 2006

This Act protects consumers’ rights where some form of credit agreement is made between the seller and the consumer. The Act specifies that the contract must detail specific information including your credit agreement amount, payment information, credit charges and APRs and most importantly the consumers’ right to cancel the agreement.
The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982

This Act requires that businesses providing a service must:

• Make sure that any work done is to the standard and price agreed by the parties
• Where no formal agreement exists, the work should be carried out to a reasonable standard, at a reasonable cost and within a reasonable time.

What is ‘reasonable’ is open to interpretation and will depend upon what other sellers would have done in the same situation.

The Consumer Protection Act 1987

This Act provides for compensation for damage to property, injury or death as a result of a faulty product. If an item is found to be the cause of any property damage, injury or death then the manufacturer, producer, or importer, and in some circumstance the retailer may be liable.
The Unfair contract Terms Act 1977 and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1994

This Act coupled with the Regulations allows consumers the right to object to any unfair or unreasonable terms within a contract which they have entered into.

They exist to prevent businesses’ relying on terms and conditions which are unfair or unreasonable on the consumer.

If you have a problem, Contact Us and our team of solicitors will be able assist you or your business whether you are a consumer or a supplier.

We are able to cover a comprehensive range of County Court and High Court claims and defences ranging from small claims matters to multi-million pound disputes.