Continuing on with our focus on the new Consumer Rights Act which came into effect on October 1st 2015, this article outlines further some of the standards which the act sets out.
Delivery Of Goods
The merchant is accountable for all goods until they are in your actual possession. It's a favourite trick of some retailers to get you to call the delivery agent, in order to ascertain the whereabouts of your order. You should reject the very notion; ultimately the goods are the responsibility of the delivery and not whichever courier they enlist.
Unless a longer delivery period has been agreed, the retailer must deliver your order within 30 days.
If the retailer fails to deliver within 30 days, you have a couple of options; if the delivery is time essential, you can terminate the purchase contract and get a full refund. Alternatively, if there is no time dependency, but no reasonable delivery date can be agreed, you're also entitled to a refund.
Some example of everyday services used by most people are; dry cleaners, cable TV, solicitors, builders, glazers, energy providers, and banks, to name but a few. Some services come with 'goods' and an end product involved, others don't. Pretty much every-time you buy or do something with outside parties, you're entering into a type of contract.
Generally these unwritten (and of course written) contracts are legislated by the Consumer Rights Act, which gives you protection for when something goes wrong. In short any service contracts you enter into must adhere to the following:
- The service must be performed with adequate care and skill
- Information both verbal and written is binding when the customer relies on it
- If no price is agreed before, the service must be provided for a reasonable price, relative to what a competitor might charge.
- The service must be carried out in the agreed time, or a reasonable time if no agreed end date is in place
If a trader leaves you unsatisfied in terms of the above criteria, you can use the Consumer Rights Act as leverage to reach one of the following solutions:
- Within a reasonable time-frame, and with no inconvenience or extra cost to yourself, the service provider must redress the issue, performing the whole service again if necessary
- If the service issue can't be redressed in a reasonable time-frame, or without inconvenience to you, you can claim a refund for the shortcomings. You may be able to claim 100% back (potentially compensation too), depending on the severity of the services failings
Unfair Contract Terms
The Consumer Credit Act also makes it easier to challenge hidden fees and charges within contracts. Under the new regulations it is a merchant's duty to draw your attention to the main elements of a contract, which includes the initial price and any 'hidden' charges.
All contracts are required to now be transparent in plain and comprehensible language, and must be clearly legible in instances where it's written down. There is also a focus on the the prominence of these details in that they need to be brought to the consumer's attention in a way that an average, observant and well-informed person would notice them.
'Unfair Terms' are generally defined as being any of the following; fees and hidden charges in the small print, something that limits your legal rights, over-inflated default charges, excessive termination charges.