Friday, 31 July 2015

Customers have new rights - are you prepared?

Businesses who deal with the public on a daily basis should think about reviewing their terms and conditions in plenty of time before new rules come into force.

That’s the warning from Andrew Oranjuik, the head of dispute resolution at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, who said companies should be acting now before the rule change on October 1st.

“It’s about time that new customer service rules were introduced as the existing set are disjointed and outdated, so I’m very pleased to see the new Consumer Rights Act coming into force,” said Andrew.

“The difficulty is that many of the existing rules were introduced before the digital age came into being, and they are no longer fit for purpose.

“But now, customers will have the protection of a whole new raft of rules that are appropriate for the fast-moving technical world we now live in, and that cover the hi-tech digital processes that seem to have taken over our everyday lives.”

Andrew said the changes would bring in different levels of remedies depending on how defective the goods received were.

“They will consider whether the goods are defective, or whether they don’t meet the description the customer was given, and customers will have the right to reject the goods and claim a refund within 30 days. In fact, even after 30 days, the customer would still be entitled to have defective goods repaired or replaced.”

Andrew said one of the biggest changes was the introduction of new rules covering the quality of digital content such as music and film downloads, which demanded the files should be of a good enough quality and fit for purpose.

“Businesses will also have to make sure they adopt fair contract terms, and clearly set out the actions they will take over faulty goods and digital content in their terms and conditions.

“Of course, many businesses already operate fair practices and so they won’t really be greatly affected by the new rules. But even so, it’s a perfect opportunity to review both the company’s terms and conditions, and the sales process generally, to make sure everything meets the strict new criteria.”