In the guide

Digital content, as distinct from goods and services, is now covered directly in law

The definition of digital content is wide and includes computer programs, smartphone apps, e-books, music and movies on physical media such as CDs and Blu-ray discs, digital content included with goods such as cars or washing machines, as well as that provided by direct download or streaming via the internet to the consumer's equipment.

Digital content: your obligations

The trader is obliged to supply, and the consumer has the right to receive, digital content - that is:

  • of satisfactory quality
  • fit for a particular purpose
  • as described
Back to top

Are customers entitled to a refund, repair or replacement?

If the consumer is supplied with faulty digital content, depending on the nature or extent of problem, he may be entitled to:

  • repair
  • replacement
  • price reduction
  • refund

Where digital content is supplied as an inherent part of physical goods - such as computer systems, smartphones and washing machines - the remedies that are available to the consumer are those for goods. This is important as under the Consumer Rights Act the remedies for goods include the right to reject, which is not available for digital content alone. See the In-depth Guide 'Digital content' for more information.

Back to top

Damage caused to devices or other digital content

If supplied digital content causes damage to the consumer's equipment, device or other digital content the consumer is entitled to either:

  • have the damaged equipment etc repaired by the trader
    ... or
  • receive compensation from the trader

For more detailed information please see the In-depth Guides below. Once you've finished, make sure you look at the full range of Quick Guides to see whether there are any other areas of law that affect your business.

Before you start
Make sure you choose your location using the drop-down list at the top of the page. The In-depth Guides provide country-specific information as some laws are different in England, Scotland and Wales, and some are enforced differently
Back to top

In-depth guidance

This is a general guide and you may well need to know more; take a look below where we've listed our In-depth Guides on specific topics related to digital content

General

Accurately describing products

The law prohibits the giving of false or misleading information to consumers, but what does this mean?

Consumer protection from unfair trading

When dealing with consumers you must ensure that you act fairly; you must provide accurate information and avoid business practices that are unfair, misleading or aggressive

Mixed contracts

Understand your obligations when you sell goods, services and/or digital content alongside each other

Online reviews & endorsements

Websites that publish reviews must ensure they provide the full picture to consumers

Returns policies

Find out when your customer is entitled to a refund, replacement or repair

The sale & supply of goods

Understand what your obligations are – under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – when a consumer buys goods from you

Unfair contract terms

Contract terms are not binding on consumers unless they are fair

Digital content

Understand what your obligations are – under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – when you supply digital content to a consumer

Feedback

Consumer enquiries from England, Scotland and Wales are handled by the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who can be contacted by telephone on 03454 04 05 06. Consumer enquiries in Northern Ireland are handled by ConsumerLine who can be contacted by telephone on 0300 1236262. Call charges may vary.

Business enquiries are dealt with by your local council. Use the Chartered Trading Standards Institute's postcode finder to locate your local trading standards team.