A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015



The Consumer Rights Act 2015
This Act came into force from 1st October 2015, when the following Acts were  repealed/amended:


Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973 will cover business to business contracts and consumer to consumer contracts only.
Sale of Goods Act 1979/ Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994 will still apply to business to business contracts and to consumer to consumer contracts.
Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 will cover business to business contracts and consumer to consumer contracts only.
Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002 will be replaced
Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 will cover business to business and consumer to consumer contracts only.
Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 will be replaced.

For goods and services purchased before October 1st 2015 see this post.

For more details on how the Consumer Rights Act 2015 covers digital goods, see this post.For tips on how to complain effectively using this law see this post.

The sale and supply of goods
The person transferring or selling the goods must have the right to do so and the goods must be of a satisfactory quality. Goods must be of a standard that a reasonable person would regard as satisfactory. Quality is a general term, which covers a number of matters including:

  • fitness for all the purposes for which goods of that kind are usually supplied – appearance and finish
  • freedom from minor defects
  • safety
  • durability

In assessing quality, all relevant circumstances must be considered by the retailer, including price, description, and their own or the manufacturer’s advertising. Goods must:

  • be fit for a particular purpose. When you indicate that goods are required for a particular purpose, or where it is obvious that goods are intended for a particular purpose and a trader supplies them to meet that requirement, the goods should be fit for that specified purpose.
  • match the description, sample or model. When you rely on a description, sample or display model the goods supplied must conform
  • be installed correctly, where installation has been agreed as part of the contract.

The consumer can reject the goods within 30 days unless the expected life of the goods is shorter e.g. highly perishable goods. You can also choose repair or replacement in this time and up to 6 months after purchase as it is assumed that the fault was there at the time of delivery unless the trader can prove otherwise or unless this assumption is inconsistent with the circumstances (for example, obvious signs of misuse). If accepting repair you still retain your legal rights.

If more than six months have passed, you have to prove the defect was there at the time of delivery. You must also prove the defect was there at the time of delivery if you exercise the short-term right to reject goods. Some defects do not become apparent until some time after delivery, and in these cases it is enough to prove that there was an underlying or hidden defect at that time.

All these rules also apply for distance selling and digital goods.

The Act defines ‘digital content’ as meaning ‘data which are produced and supplied in digital form’. Therefore a huge array of digital-format products fall within this definition such as:

  • computer games
  • virtual items purchased within computer games
  • television programmes
  • films
  • books
  • computer software
  • mobile phone apps
  • systems software for operating goods – for example, domestic appliances, toys, motor vehicles, etc. In many cases digital content is supplied in a format that can be physically touched such as a Blu-ray disc containing a film. Increasingly, however, digital content does not have a tangible form – for example, a film downloaded to a computer or a virtual car purchased when playing a computer game.

Digital content rights are slightly more complicated and you can find out more details here.

The contract for the supply of services
A contract is an agreement consisting of an offer and acceptance. When a consumer buys services from a trader, both parties enter into a contract which is legally binding. In order for a term to be binding it must clearly be part of the contract and be legal. Terms given to a consumer after the contract is made are not part of the contract and they have no effect. A contract can be verbal but it is advisable to detail important terms in writing so there can be no dispute later on.

All services should be carried out:

  • with reasonable care and skill.
  • information given verbally  or in writing to the consumer is binding where the consumer relies on it.
  • the service must be done for a reasonable price (if no fixed price was set in advance)
  • the service must be carried out within a reasonable time (if no specific time was agreed)

You have up to 6 years in which you can bring a claim against a trader.

Unfair contracts
The law creates a ‘fairness test’ to stop consumers being put at unfair disadvantage. A term is unfair if it tilts the rights and responsibilities between the consumer and the trader too much in favour of the trader. The test is applied by looking at what words are used and how they could be interpreted. It takes into consideration what is being sold, what the other terms of the contract say and all the circumstances at the time the term was agreed. There is an exemption for the essential obligations of contracts – setting the price and describing the main subject matter – provided the wording used is clear and prominent. There is also an exemption for wording that has to be used by law. If you have been misled into making a decision that you would otherwise not have made then the company is in breach of this law.

The Consumer Rights Act contains equivalent rights and protections to the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. This means that, though there may be some technical differences in the way these aspects are implemented, from a consumer’s point of view there would be no difference – under the Consumer Rights Act the consumer may argue that a term is unfair in the same way as they would have under the aforementioned Acts.

To ensure that you know your rights and how to use them take a look at How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results, as one reviewer says you’ll get more than your money back the first time you use it!

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46 Responses to A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015

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  2. Hans Hoekstra says:

    everybody hates the “contact us” forms online and not finding a proper email address to complain to… Distance Selling regs state that a “contact us” form is not enough and a proper email address must also be present on a seller’s website.

    Who enforces this ?

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Distance Selling Regulations no longer apply and they did not state that an email address had to be present. As of 13 June 2014 the Consumer Contracts Regulations apply. The information about the seller must include a geographical address if payment is taken. When you place an order, the seller becomes obliged by law to provide further information in writing or by email.

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  9. Jane says:

    Hi I purchased a summerhouse on the 26th December and it was delivered on 15 February. My builder came to erecting it today and discovered that it was 1.2 metres bigger than described on the website. Do I have any rights to have it returned and refunded as it is much bigger than described. They said that it could be built without the porch but that was the whole reason I bought it. Any advice gratefully received.

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  21. Sarah Hayes says:

    Myself, my partner & our two children had been invited to wedding in Cyprus. The mother of the groom asked us to meet her at the travel agency (Thomas Cook) where she always booked through and told us they’d get us a good deal. We advised them of dates when we were going and the whereabouts in Cyprus our friends were getting married. The travel agent then proceeded to book us in at the hotel next door to the one the wedding was taking place at, said it was a good hotel and that unfortunately they couldn’t show us any photos as they didn’t have it in the brochures as it was through their partner, Flexitrips. We paid the deposit and booked this 2 week AI trip for 2 adults & 2 children, £3327. A few weeks later, when next going to make payment against the holiday, I took a look at the reviews of the hotel online, only to discover they were abysmal and that it was nicknamed Panaretti Prison. I raised these concerns with the travel agent when going in to pay and they assured me not to worry as it was to be renovated. Alas, we are due to fly out on the 20th August and the reviews remain the same, no renovations have taken place and we’ve also found out that there is no entertainment on offer, something that with 2 children we feel is important, given the length of the holiday and the amount paid, I feel very unhappy at the mere thought of going away and wanted to know if I was in the position to make a complaint to the tour operator and request that they amend our booking to alternative hotel?

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  24. Simon Woods says:

    On the 8th of this month I entered into a contract with a marketing company to display my business on their customer leaflets.

    Initially my issue was that I had not received any correspondence from
    them with the promise of templates being sent to me on the Monday
    morning following my appointment, 3 days prior, therefore forcing me to miss their target of receiving emailed artwork within 7 days. Which falls under their terms and
    conditions (.5).

    Furthermore, it was during the physical conversation with the sales rep that
    I would have the sole position of utility provider amongst the advertising
    space on offer. However on further inspection of their terms post appointment their T&C article .7 states;

    “No client’s advertisement shall enjoy a preferential position or monopoly
    rights on/ within this advertising medium.”

    This directly contradicts the information I was given and henceforth would
    have made me not commit to the agreement.

    Additionally there was no mention of this being a non refundable contract
    deposit at the time of signing which I believe to have been negligently omitted. Once again I would have taken additional time to consider my options.

    I have contacted the company at my earliest opportunity to highlight the issues and
    to allow sufficient time to find a new tender for the advertising space being offered.

    They have responded and maintained the position that a contract had been signed and will continue as set out. I obviously do not agree.

    Where do I stand?

  25. Marc says:

    Apple advertise the iPhone 7 as water resistant (in the advert the person is using it in the rain), I accidentally dropped it in water and have been told that the Apple warranty does not cover liquid damage. There was no disclaimer on the advert and the only mention is on their website but I didn’t purchase it directly from Apple. My argument is that it is protected under IP67 which means it has been tested to work for at least 30 minutes while under 15cm to 1m of water; mine was floating on the surface in a ziplock back for 15 second. Apple have told me I would need to claim off my insurance policy. Can I argue this is is a misrepresentation or a false representation of the product?

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Contract always with retailer not manufacturer. Water resistant would not cover you for dropping it in water – that is quite different so the advert is not misleading. However, if it is described as being able to be submerged under x level of water for x length of time and your phone was not as deep and less time then the item is not as described and you are entitled to refund, repair or replacement. You’re welcome.

  26. wendy says:


    I booked a holiday with Easyjet which their site advertised a hotel with a spa/solarium and massage. I booked this and found out once I was there, there were no such amenities. I contacted Easyjet when I returned to the UK and haven’t heard anything since this month (Nov). I feel like I was falsely advertised these amenities on their site and misled to believe they had them. They are saying that this is incorrect. I have sent a complaint to the advertising authority but not sure where to go from here.

  27. Niki says:

    In July 2016, I ordered some furniture, (a corner sofa and a matching set of plain oak dining/lounge furniture including a round dining table complete with 4 chairs, a lamp table and a nest of tables), in store from Harveys Furniture at Chichester. As I was having some building work carried out, I paid a deposit, and arranged for delivery at the beginning of December. Harveys asked that the balance of payment should be made at anytime before December, which I duly did.

    Delivery was arranged for 2nd December. On that day, they delivered the sofa. They had completely forgotten about the dining furniture. I re-arranged another date for delivery for the following week. On this occasion they delivered the lamp table, the nest of tables and the 4 chairs, but no table. I re-arranged the delivery for the 20th December. On the 20th they turned up with the wrong table (it was a painted table) and no table legs! My husband sent it away.

    Now the manager of the store and customer services have admitted that not only is my table not available, but that it was not available at the time of the purchase in July! I have asked them to refund the cost of the round table, and said that I would accept a small, square table in it’s place, but that I expect it to be free of charge as compensation for having to take 3 days of work to be available for the ‘deliveries’, and for having had to make an extra 3 trips back to the store, and generally for all the hassle they have caused me. They have refused to do this. Can I now ask them to take all the oak furniture away and refund my money in total?

  28. Mark says:

    We paid a deposit of £4500 to a company for a kitchen on the understanding that all details could be sorted out at a later date as the money was paid prior to a final survey and before any units had been ordered by the company or any contract signed. We subsequently lost faith in the company and asked for a refund which was declined. The company states that deposits are non-refundable and has also refused to participate in mediation. Do you think this company is acting within the terms of the 2015 Consumer Rights Act by refusing to refund the deposit?

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      Will all depend on what you have in writing otherwise hard to prove. If you have it all in writing you need to check what t & c says – but then you can still go for unfair contract terms under this and other laws. Also see if member of furniture ombudsman.

  29. Florence says:

    I entered into a contract with a company called Student Support Centre. They gave all the story about how the company will help my child’s education. After sometime trying it out, I found out that the service is not suitable for my child at all. My child requires a personal tutor and not some DVD which was made since 2005. After trying to see if I could make any good use of it, I persisted but have called it quits because it is not doing him much good. Syllabus has changed since and requirements for exams have changed. This was one of the main things I raised with the sales person,who clearly said the syllabus changing does not make any difference. Now I am required to carry on paying for what I don’t use anymore. I believe this is financial misrepresentation. The sales persons are trained sales people and not teachers which I later found out. This is clear misrepresentation.

  30. Matthew Berrington says:

    I purchased a 2012 Vauxhall Antara on 26th August 2016 with 32845 miles. On January 4th 2017 with approx 42,000 miles done, the differential assembly has failed internally causing major damaged to the whole gear box and casing. Can I claim against the dealer under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for Unfit for Purpose or Not of Satisfactory Quality?

  31. Laura says:

    Can you give advice on negative reviews I got threatened with legal action and told to take my review off when I was unhappy well extremely unhappy with attitude and manner they dealt with me. I never been treated in that way before. I struggled to find guidance on how it’s safe to but a negative review. I have now lost confidence in reviews after this. How can you protect yourself if posting a negative account when it’s your opinion you can’t prove they spoke to you in an ill manner or that they demand as it’s in terms giving you 15 minutes to check your order isn’t damaged and once signed is not their problem if it’s damaged afterwards. I had to unpack my item on the drive luckily delivery man was very kind and said he dreads this company as his manager always ask why he took so long. They didn’t reply to my email asking when I would get item until I got a late last minute email in generic format saying I had 48 hrs in which it could arrive anytime so yes was happy with service. They said I caused slander so spoke to Trading Standards citizens advice and information commission and still no guidance. This scary me into taking my review down I just wish to save others as I wouldn’t want anyone to experience that.

    • Laura says:

      Sorry for typo mistakes I’m also dyslexic and not ashamed to say it I struggle to read their terms also recommend 2 people to be available to receive item when I said I hadn’t any confidence in their approach I got told it was in my terms you tick a box when ordering I thought it was a don’t share your information box I didn’t expect terms like this.

      • The Complaining Cow says:

        Don’t think any company has ever taken someone to court over a bad review. It would hit the news and give them terrible publicity. They would have to prove it was libellous. Write reviews anonymously if it makes you feel better. If they threaten again I’d threaten them with taking them to court for harassment. You would need to take legal advice on that.

        Please see around the blog, tips, the above post and book etc.

    • The Complaining Cow says:

      As regards the further email sent. Slander is verbal, libel is written so that’s wrong in any case, they have even threatened using the wrong word so how likely is it that they will do anything?!!! See all the bad reviews everywhere have any of these people ever been sued? No. You can’t find anything because my suspicion is because it is ridiculous. They would have to prove you were lying just for starters. The cost of taking you to court (plus the negative media publicity drawing attention to the review and I guess others like it about their company) would far outweigh any benefit. I doubt that they have taken any legal advice or they would have used the correct terminology. If they are a member of an ombudsman such as the Furniture Ombudsman you could phone them and tell them what has happened but I guess if they act like this that are not. If you are still worried then contact CAB again, they DO have legal people. I would be amazed if you get a letter from a lawyer or even from the company requesting that you take down the review or they will take legal action. Go straight to the media if you do. Meanwhile contact TrustPilot.

      If you are still looking to get money refunded please follow the tips and advice on the blog and in the book where all you need about consumer advice and laws in getting redress is. Libel/slander is not consumer law, but unless you have said something like they are thieves (and even then they’d be pushing it in my non legal opinion) I personally can’t see it.

      Look up libel (not slander) and you will be able to see for yourself if you think you come anywhere near to causing it. If so take legal advice or take it down. Put it into context, your review would have to be different to any other review out there.

      If it is in their terms and conditions that you cannot put a bad review anywhere that would be an unfair contract term. See the post above. If you need further advice about getting redress from the company please see post above, tips and the book.

  32. Maria says:

    Hi I bought a bed on the 4th of January. It was to be delivered on the 6th Feb but the bed was not packed onto the van. We re-arranged for the bed to be delivered on the 15th Feb and only half the order arrived as they forgot to pack the other half! We need the bed to be delivered by the 18th. The earliest they can deliver the remaining half is the 20th, the customer service team say there is nothing they can do. Do I have any rights?

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