Saturday, October 03, 2015

Changes For Consumers In England

So October arrived with a flurry - well if you consider two to be a flurry that is - of new laws for consumers in England; one giving them rights and the other directing and benefiting on the rights of nature. But both brings with them benefits for the society at large and thats is what fairness is, at least.

1.   Consumer Rights Act 2015
Came into force on 1st October. In summary, it simply now puts a 30-day time-frame in which customers has from the day of purchase/delivery to when then can claim full refund. This is good because until now, different retailers has different number of days or weeks in which they can refund you. But even worse, some has terribly confusing policies that they can only refund with their own vouchers, which essentially forces you to buy from them. It was always a nightmare.

Now however, the new law stipulates that retailers have to refund you fully The new law, which is a real shake-up of UK consumer law did not stop there. It goes further to cover other areas like;
Failed repairs: If after one attempt a repair fails, or the retailer fails to replace a faulty item, a customer is entitled to ask for a refund.. or even a price reduction. This rights extends and includes second repairs or replacement.

Unfair terms in consumer contracts: Hidden fees or charges are now easier to be challenged because the new law says that key terms including [all] price may be assessed for fairness unless they are prominent and transparent. Also Pre-contract information must comply with end-products or they could be void.
Digital contents: Online purchase including downloads now can benefit from refund and replacements. This part extends to things like DVD; essentially softcopies if you want.
Right to reject: A consumer also now has the right to reject goods if unsatisfied about the quality or unfit for purpose or did not appear as described within 30 days of purchase. A refund is directed.
Beyond 30 days and onwards: The new law suggests that within 6 months, it can be presumed that the fault was on the item from delivery unless the retailer can prove otherwis. However, after 6 months, it is now the responsibility of the customer to prove that the fault has always been there.

2. Plastic Carrier Bag
This policy kicks in on Monday 5th October. It stipulates that Businesses with 250 or more full-time employees - these dont all have to be shopfloor staff - must charge at least 5pence for bags including any applicable VAT. This may not be felt hugely though as there are abundant exemptions from it including franchised shops and small businesses. But still, being that majority of us shop in supermarkets these days, they chances that we will feel it is higher than not. On the grey side though, being that most of us pay with cards these days, that too may blurr the expense and see more us paying for bags without realising it.

The above two steps brings a huge benefit to the society at large. I have always felt it irresponsble that in England we waste so much and the culture seems tilted against repairing or re-using stuff. From tech to simple things are flipflops, we'd rather buy a new one than repair an old item we have. This culture is also heavily supported by the expensive charges repairs can cost.

As a computer repair man, I see myself most of the time advising my clients to buy a new computer than pay me over and over to repair an old one. Although I feel bad about the no-repair culture, its also unhelpful that the cost of my repair could be anything from a third of buying computer.

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