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Consumer Rights Act – what you need to know

What does the Consumer Rights Act say?

With the introduction of the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) in October, traders have had to rethink their Terms and Conditions of Sale to reflect consumer’s additional protection. It is now a requirement by law that in all contracts for the sale of goods there is an implied term that the goods supplied are to be of satisfactory quality. This widens the right to consumers as under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 this was only for business to business contracts. In the first six months the burden of proof lies with the trader to prove the goods were of satisfactory quality, an example of a reverse burden of proof.

The consumer may have a short-term right to reject the goods; the short-term right to reject under the CRA expires after 30 days (or a shorter period in the case of perishable goods). This 30 day period can be extended by agreement between the trader and the consumer but it cannot be reduced.

A consumer is only obliged to return the goods to the trader if the contract says so otherwise the consumer must simply make the goods available for collection. Whether the consumer sends the goods back or the trader collects them the trader must pay the costs of return.

The CRA contains a new provision which states that goods are not in conformity with the contract where all of the following apply:

  • Installation of the goods forms part of the contract.
  • The goods are installed by the trader or under the trader’s responsibility.
  • The goods are installed incorrectly.

The CRA expressly states that bespoke goods are to be treated as goods, rather than the end product of services. This new provision reflects the position under the Sales and Guarantees Directive and ends some uncertainty over whether that aspect of the Directive had been implemented correctly in UK law.

Terms and Conditions

Traders will produce Terms and Conditions for The Supply of Goods Online, The Supply of Goods On-Premises, The Supply of Services On-Premises and The Supply of Goods and Services On-Premises.

The below is an exhaustive list of amendments which should be made to these Terms and Conditions in light of the CRA:

  • Consumer obliged to return rejected goods (supply of goods)
  • Right to cancel (supply of goods online)
  • Trader may reject an order it it cannot meet a delivery specified by a consumer (supply of goods)
  • Trader must deliver goods within 30 days unless agreed otherwise with consumer (supply of goods)
  • Pre-contract information about delivery (supply of goods)
  • Goods in conformity with contract (supply of goods)
  • Goods as installed (supply of goods on-premises)

For a consumer’s Right to cancel we suggest inserting the following clause into your Terms and Conditions:

Exercising your right to change your mind (Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013). For most products bought online you have a legal right to change your mind within 14 days and receive a refund. These rights, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, are explained in more detail in these terms.


Raj Dhokia: r.dhokia@fgdlaw.co.uk