“The biggest development on the horizon will see the Consumer Rights Act come into force. The core consumer rights are the right to get what you pay for, the right that goods and digital content will be of satisfactory quality and services are provided with reasonable care and skill, and the right to have faults in what you buy put right free of charge or to be provided with a refund or replacement.”
30 June 2015 – Direct enforcement against copycat packaging
In 2014 BIS conducted a consultation on giving businesses a civil injunctive power in relation to copycat packaging, through amending the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/1277). A report is due from BIS following this consultation process, although it is not yet clear when this will be published.
9 July 2015 – Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes Directive (2013/11/EU)
The UK must transpose the requirements of the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes Directive (ADR Directive) into national law by 9 July 2015.
The UK Government’s principal obligation under the ADR Directive is to ensure that ADR is available (but not mandatory) for all business-to-consumer contractual disputes. In its response to a BIS consultation, the Government has proposed to: set up certified ADR bodies for non-regulated industries, where one does not currently exist; delegate authority for overseeing those ADR bodies to the Trading Standards Institute; and create a consumer complaints helpdesk in co-operation with Citizens Advice.
Businesses contracting with consumers will be required to provide details of an approved ADR provider.
1 October 2015 – Consumer Rights Bill expected to come into force
The Consumer Rights Bill (CRB) is aimed at ‘streamlining’ consumers’ rights. Many of the concepts in the CRB will already be familiar (for example, that goods should be of a satisfactory quality and services should be performed with reasonable care and skill), but the intent is to harmonise, update and bolster consumers’ rights where appropriate. For example, digital content contracts will be specifically regulated under the CRB.
The CRB will also reform the law on collective actions for competition claims, with the introduction of an opt-out system for mass claims to be brought for breaches of compeition law.
9 January 2016 – Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes Regulation (524/2013)
The Online Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes requires the Commission to establish an online platform (the ODR Platform) to facilitate communication between between businesses and consumers where a dispute arises regarding an online transaction.
All businesses that sell goods or services online must provide a link to the ODR Platform from 9 January 2016 (the UK Government has various responsibilities to meet prior to this date).