Consumer rights law, which includes the law governing contracts for goods and services and for unfair terms in consumer contracts, is currently spread across a number of pieces of legislation.
The UK Consumer Rights Bill (the Bill) recently introduced into parliament aims to make sure consumers are better informed and protected when they buy goods, services or digital content by making clearer the standards a consumer can expect when making a purchase, what action should be taken when those standards are not met and clarifying when terms are fair or unfair.
It will also seek to simplify the law relating to investigatory powers and enforcement and breaches of competition law.
The Bill has been drafted in three parts:
- Consumer contracts for Goods, Digital Content and Services;
- Unfair Terms; and
- Miscellaneous and General (i.e. investigatory and enforcement powers and competition law issues).
The proposed amendments contained in the Bill provide (in general terms) better rights and protections for consumers. Businesses should therefore ensure they understand the impact of the proposed changes.
The Bill’s Report stage is to be held on 13 May 2014, but the date for the Third reading in the House of Commons has yet to be announced.