If you’ve paid for something and it’s not up to scratch, as a consumer you’re entitled to have things put right – and First4Lawyers can help.
While numerous acts of parliament have allowed for robust consumer protection in the UK for decades, the Consumer Protection Act 2015 means it’s simpler than ever before to resolve issues with retailers and service providers. So, if you have a problem as a consumer, you might have a great chance of getting it fixed.
To find out what you can do, and for expert help enforcing your consumer rights, please contact First4Lawyers.
What is consumer protection?
Consumer protection is a group of laws which protect customers against unfair selling practices. These laws ensure that as a consumer, you have basic legal rights if the product:
- Carries a misleading description
- Is of low quality
- Is unfit for its intended purpose
What legislation covers consumer protection?
There are now four main acts of parliament which protect the rights of consumers:
- Sale and Supply of Goods Act 1994
This says that all products must be of a 'satisfactory quality'. In other words, they must be safe, last for an acceptable length of time and be fit for their intended purpose. Products must not be faulty, unless the retailer notes the defect at the point of sale.
- Trade Descriptions Act 1968
The Trade Descriptions Act states manufacturers and retailers must not give false or misleading information about any products. For example, counterfeit designer goods sold as genuine are a clear breach of the act.
- Consumer Credit Act 1974
This protects you when you borrow or buy on credit. The Consumer Credit Act states that businesses must have licences to offer credit. It also states that no one under the age of 18 may borrow or buy on credit.
Lenders must state an annual percentage rate (APR). If you sign a credit away from trade premises, the law gives you several days to cancel the agreement. This is called the 'cooling off period'.
- Consumer Rights Act 2015
This act sets what should happen when physical goods and digital content are faulty. This act gives Trading Standards and other public enforcers greater powers of redress in favour of consumers who may be the victims of breaches to their rights.
I have a claim – can I file it with the small claims court?
If your claim is for less than £10,000, then the law considers it a small claim and you can therefore file it with the small claims court.
There are a number of fees that you may face for the bringing the case to court. With this in mind, you may wish to consider whether it is worth the time and expense. We offer a range of services to guide you through the small claims process. Contact us to see how we can help.
How can I resolve consumer disputes quickly?
The Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities) Regulations 2015 now make it much easier to resolve consumer disputes.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to ways of resolving disputes between traders and consumers without the need to go to court. The government is actively encouraging the development of ADR on the premise that it better protects consumer rights and improves customer service.
Common forms of ADR include:
- Mediation – This involves an independent third party who seeks to help reach an acceptable compromise between the disputing parties.
- Arbitration – An independent third party considers the facts before making a decision to which both parties are bound by law to adhere.
I want help and advice with consumer protection – what should I do?
If someone breaches your consumer rights, then you may have a legitimate claim against the seller, supplier or manufacturer.
Here at First4Lawyers, the consumer rights solicitors we can provide you with are specialists with extensive experience in resolving disputes between consumers and retailers, or service providers. We can help you find the quickest and most cost effective solution to your problem.
For professional, no-nonsense legal advice, you can contact First4Lawyers.