Consumer law changes: Are you ready?

The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) has urged companies to ‘be prepared’ ahead of the implementation of the Consumer Rights Act, which became law on 26 March 2015.

The Act is a major part of the government’s reform of UK consumer law and is predicted to boost the economy by £4 billion over the next decade, by streamlining ‘complicated’ law from eight pieces of legislation into one place.

It will also introduce new rights for consumers when it comes into force on 1 October 2015, including a 30-day time period to return faulty goods.

Brian Smith, GGF Home Improvement director commented: “The new Consumer Rights Act will have far reaching consequences for all companies in our industry and I’d urge every company to be well prepared for the impact. The GGF is doing everything in its power to ensure its members are given the support and information needed to cope with this new law. We have just over five months for consumer facing companies to fully adjust before the law is enforced in October.”

Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has described the Act as “the biggest shake up of consumer law for a generation, bringing legislation in line with the fact many people now buy online.”

Jo Swinson, Consumer Affairs Minister, added: “For too long consumers and businesses have struggled to understand the complicated rules that apply when buying goods and services. That is why the Consumer Rights Act is so important in setting out clear and updated consumer rights for goods, services and, for the first time, digital content.”

Under the Act, consumers will have:

  • A clear right to demand that substandard services are redone or failing that, receive a price reduction
  • A 30-day time period to return faulty goods and get a full refund.
  • Entitlement to some money back after one failed repair of faulty goods (or one faulty replacement), even if more than 30 days have passed, rather than having to put up with repeated attempts to get a repair done
  • The ability to challenge terms and conditions which are deemed unfair or hidden in the small print

Measures have also been included in the Act to reduce the burden of understanding and applying consumer law. These include:

  • A new requirement for enforcers such as Trading Standards officers to give 48 hours’ notice to businesses when carrying out routine inspections, saving business £4.1 million per year. Officers will still be able to carry out unannounced inspections where they suspect illegal activity
  • Faster and lower cost remedies for businesses who have been disadvantaged from breaches in competition law

The GGF has expressed concern that the introduction of a ‘short term right to reject’ will create problems for the domestic replacement glazing industry if consumers try to reject windows and doors which have been installed.

The GGF has arranged for a presentation by a Trading Standards officer, on the ‘Likely effect the new Act will have on our industry’ at the GGF Joint Window and Door Group and Conservatory Association meeting at the end of April in Solihull, to which all members are welcome. Further presentations by GGF staff to members around the regions will then follow during the months before implementation of the Act in October.

For more information on attending the above meetings, please email the Home Improvement Department,

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