• Startups
  • March 08, 2022

What is the Consumer Rights Act 2015?


The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the Act) is one of the most important pieces of legislation for anyone trading goods, services, and digital content needs to understand. 

To help businesses navigate and understand their obligations under the Act, we have provided a brief guide.

What did the Consumer Rights Act 2015 replace?

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 replaces some existing laws under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The Act consolidates other laws relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts and it gives consumers new rights in relation to goods, services and digital content.

The law in the Act is similar to current laws but does contain changes. The main changes relate to the supply of digital content, the supply of services and unfair contract terms. The Consumer Rights Act applies to contracts and notices between a 'consumer' and a ‘trader’. 

  • A 'trader' is defined as "a person acting for purposes relating to that person's trade, business, craft or profession. This is whether they are acting personally or through another person acting in the trader's name or on the trader's behalf". 
  • A 'consumer' is defined as "an individual acting for purposes that are wholly or mainly outside that individual's trade, business, craft or profession”

Digital content

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 brings into force two new laws on digital content. It gives consumers the right to the repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as online music, e-books, films and games. Digital content must be of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, and conform with the description provided by the business.   

Supply of services 

The Act consolidates various laws that currently provide consumers with remedies. Consumers now have new remedies for 'repeat performance'. This is a price reduction if a service does not conform to the contract and the right to appoint a new supplier in certain circumstances.

What does the Consumer Rights Act contain?

The Act is divided into three parts:

  • Part one - sets out a consumer's statutory rights in respect of contracts for goods, services and digital content supplied by a trader. These rights become contractual terms.
  • Part two - imposes a fairness test, the requirement for transparency of all written terms, and includes a list of terms likely to be deemed unfair. It applies to consumer contracts and notices given by a trader to a consumer.
  • Part three - covers a variety of general and miscellaneous matters. This includes enforcement, private actions in competition law, the duty of letting agents regarding publishing fees and the duty to provide information about sporting, cultural and recreation event tickets.

Under the Act, all goods and services, whether physical or digital must meet the below standards:

  • Be fit for purpose
  • As described
  • Of satisfactory quality

Consumer Rights Act 2015 returns

The rights of the consumer under the Act depend on how long they have owned the product for:

  • 0 - 30 days – a consumer can claim a full refund for goods if they are of poor quality, unfit for purpose or not sold as described
  • 30 days - six months - a consumer must provide the retailer with a single opportunity to repair or replace the product. If repairing or replacing the product is not possible, a full refund must be given
  • Six months or more - the burden of proof shifts to the consumer to show that the product is defective. If the product is proven faulty, the retailer must be provided one opportunity to repair or replace it before a partial refund can be claimed.

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Additional resources

In closing

Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice on which you should rely. The article is provided for general information purposes only. Professional legal advice should always be sought before taking any action relating to or relying on the content of this article. Our Platform Terms of Use apply to this article.

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