5 things you should know about the Consumer Rights Act 2015 - Part 2
1. Misleading Information: At the moment, a consumer given misleading information is only able to pursue an action for misrepresentation. This is because such information does not form part of the contract. However, under the 2015 Act a more straightforward remedy for breach of contract is now available. Any spoken or written statements made by the trader about his service will be binding contractual terms. This includes both pre and post contractual statements, provided those statements related to the service to be provided.
2. Unfair Terms: Where terms in a consumer contract are deemed unfair, they may not bind the consumer. The existing "fairness test" is retained in the 2015 Act, but terms relating to the price and contract subject matter will only be exempt if they are both transparent and prominent. For a term to be transparent it must be in plain and intelligible language. For a term to be prominent it must be brought to the consumer’s attention. Terms which allow the trader to determine the price after the consumer is bound will be presumed to be unfair
3. Enforcement: Enforcers of consumer law already have remedial powers against offending businesses. In particular, enforcers may seek to obtain civil injunctions ordering the cessation of infringing acts. They may, furthermore, bring criminal prosecutions. The 2015 Act extends the civil remedies available to enforcers by setting out a number of “Enhanced Consumer Measures” which may be sought. The incoming Enhanced Consumer Measures (“ECMs”) include: (a) reimbursement of financial loss; (b) publication of the breach on the business’ website, in its stores, or within the press; (c) publication of the breach on the Trading Standards website; and (d) orders for the remediation of the business’ internal practices. Please note that details of possible measures are not included in the 2015 Act. The guidance published by the Government in relation to the ECM’s explains the reason for this is to ensure that “the enforcer or the court retain the flexibility to find the most appropriate measure or measures to deal with a business that has broken the law”.
4. Secondary Ticketing: The 2015 Act beefs up the regulation of the secondary ticket market by introducing new requirements. For example, resellers and operators of resale facilities will need to ensure purchasers are provided with basic information on each ticket for sale, including the row/seat number it relates to, any restrictions as to who it can be used by (for example, any age limit applicable) and its face value. Local authority trading standards will be responsible for enforcing these new provisions and will have the power to impose fines on sellers and secondary ticketing platforms who fail to comply.
5. The 2015 Act is expected to come into force on 1st October 2015 (with the exception of the secondary ticketing provisions which are already in force) so businesses should take steps now to review existing consumer related practices and terms and conditions.