The Consumer Rights Act 2015 & alternative dispute resolution: guidance for businesses

The main parts of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 come into force today, 1 October 2015.

The Consumer Rights Act replaces a number of laws with regard to business-to-consumer transactions, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982.

It will be clearer and easier to understand, meaning that consumers can buy and businesses can sell to them with confidence. The changes are relevant to every business that sells directly to consumers. The new law makes it clear what should happen when goods or digital content are faulty, or when services are not provided with reasonable care and skill. Businesses and consumers who understand their rights and responsibilities will save time and money.

To help businesses and consumers understand the changes, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has worked closely with business and consumer groups to develop a plain English summary of the key elements of the Act. This 'consumer rights summary' is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to consumer rights, but rather a general overview of the key consumer rights, focusing on the most common issues.

There is no legal requirement for you to display this information, but it could help you make things clearer for your customers and staff. The design of the information sheet is a basic layout and you may want to tailor it according to your business needs - for example, by offering a returns policy that builds on the statutory requirements, or adding examples from your own business (perhaps replacing the words 'goods', 'services' or 'digital content' with something that you sell). The words are legally correct and outline your customers' rights, so we suggest tailoring and adding to these words, rather than deleting or altering the wording provided.

The summary is attached below in both PDF and Word formats, the latter to enable you to create your own version more easily:
Consumer rights summary - England & Wales (PDF)
Consumer rights summary - England & Wales (Word)
Consumer rights summary - Scotland (PDF)
Consumer rights summary - Scotland (Word)

The guidance on the Act is covered on Business Companion in a number of In-depth Guides:

Finally, BIS has put together a checklist for the Consumer Rights Act so businesses can ensure they have everything covered (click on the pictures to follow the links):

Alternative dispute resolution

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is an option all businesses can benefit from when a dispute cannot be settled directly with the consumer. Guidance on ADR, including detailed guidance from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), can be found in 'Alternative dispute resolution'.