Misleading / Aggressive Business Activity

When you enter into a contract with a broker for the supply of products, services, or digital content, the Consumer Rights Act of 2015 gives you essential rights. It outlines what you are entitled to expect from products, services, and digital content, as well as your rights and remedies in the event that the goods or digital content are defective or the service is subpar.

If a trader misleads you or engages in aggressive business activity, the Consumer Protection against Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 grant you rights to recourse, and the Consumer Credit Act 1974 allows you to hold a loan company as liable as a trader for a breach of contract or misrepresentation.

Other laws provide you with rights and remedies that are just as relevant.

This guide will provide you a summary of your rights and remedies.

Wares

Key rights include:

The merchant must have the ‘right to supply’ you with the goods. They can’t sell them to you if they don’t really own them. The products must be of ‘satisfactory quality.’ When it comes to quality, the definition, price, condition of the product, fitness for purpose, appearance and finish, protection, reliability, and lack of minor defects are all important considerations. The trader, the manufacturer, or their representative must make correct public claims about the products, such as those in advertisements or on labelling, and these statements can be used to determine whether the goods are of sufficient quality.

If you tell a seller that you want the products to be ‘fit for a specific purpose,’ even if it’s something they don’t normally sell, you have the right to expect that they will be. You also have the right to expect that the goods will be ‘as defined.’

If a sample is seen or examined, the products must match the sample.’

If you look at or inspect a model, the products must match the model.’

Key treatments include:

Right to refuse the products for a limited time. You have 30 days from the day the goods were delivered to refuse them for a complete refund and/or the return of all other items transferred under the contract (for example, part-exchange goods) to fix or replace them. If you do not refuse the products or the 30-day period has expired, you can ask the trader to fix or restore them at their cost, or you can ask for a price discount or a final right to reject. If the products are defective, you do not have to give the trader more than one chance to replace them. If the repairs or replacements are unsuccessful, impossible, too expensive, or cannot be completed in a reasonable time and without causing you any inconvenience, you can request a price reduction (you choose to keep the goods and ask the trader to give you a price reduction) or exercise your final right to reject (you choose to keep the goods and ask the trader to give you a price reduction) (you reject the goods for a refund but, depending on circumstances, a deduction for use may apply)

Content on the internet

Key rights include:

A trader must have the ‘right to sell’ digital content to you, just as they must have the ‘right to supply’ merchandise to you. You have the right to believe that the digital content is of ‘satisfactory quality.’ This means it follows a norm that a reasonable person would consider acceptable, taking into account any descriptions used, the price (if applicable), and any other relevant factors. When assessing the quality of digital content, the state and condition of the content, its fitness for purpose, protection, reliability, and lack of minor flaws are all important factors to consider. The trader, the manufacturer, or their representative must make correct public statements about the digital material, such as those in ads or on labelling, and these statements can be taken into account when determining if it is of acceptable quality.

You have the right to expect that digital content is fit for a ‘particular purpose’ if you notify a trader that you want it to be fit for that purpose, even if it is something that it is not normally supplied for. You also have the right to expect that the digital content is as ‘defined.’ Even if you examine a trial version and discover that the actual digital content matches or exceeds the trial version, it must still fit the trader’s definition of’supply by transmission and facilities for continued transmission.’ The trader is responsible to you for the quality, fitness for a particular purpose, and description of the digital content from the time it is transmitted until it reaches your device, either directly or via some other trader with which you have a contract – for example, an internet service provider – ‘quality, fitness, and description of digital content must always apply if a trader modifies it’ –

Key treatments include:

You are entitled to a repair or replacement if the digital material does not ‘conform to the contract’ (which means it is not of satisfactory quality, fit for purpose, or as described).

You are entitled to a price discount if repair or replacement of the digital content is not feasible or cannot be completed within a reasonable period or without causing you considerable inconvenience. This can be as much as a full refund – for example, if you have had no profit from the digital content and the trader does not have the legal right to sell the digital content to you, you are entitled to a full refund. If the trader only had the right to supply any of the digital content but not all, you would only be entitled to a refund for the portion they did not have the right to supply.

Services are provided

Key rights include:

‘Reasonable care and expertise’ must be used when performing the operation. This means that a trader must perform work to the same or equivalent standards as is permissible in their trade or profession; ‘information about the trader or service is legally binding.’ This ensures that something said or written by a trader (or someone working on their behalf) about the trader or the service becomes part of the contract whether you accept the details before agreeing to the contract or decide on the service after the contract is made a reasonable price to be charged for a service’. Whether the price of the service (or the method by which the price is calculated) is set as part of the contract, you are only expected to pay a ‘reasonable price’ for the service provided by a trader. ‘The service must be carried out within a reasonable period,’ says the contract. A contract which specifies a deadline by which a service must be completed. The service must be completed ‘within a reasonable period’ if the time has not been set. What is fair is normally determined by the contract’s truth.

Key the ability to replicate a result If a trader fails to provide a service with fair care and ability, or fails to provide a service in accordance with details they provided you before, they must re-perform the service so that it ‘conforms with the contract’ (is completed as the contract states it should be). You have the right to have this repeat performance performed in a reasonable amount of time, with no inconvenience, and at no cost to you. You also have the right to a price reduction. You are entitled to a price discount if repeat delivery of a service is unlikely, or if it cannot be performed within a reasonable period or without causing you considerable inconvenience. This can range from a partial refund to a complete refund, depending on whether you received any value from the service and whether it would need to be restarted. You are therefore entitled to a price discount if the service is not provided within a reasonable period and the trader fails to meet their obligations relating to information provided to you that is considered to be part of the contract.

  • What will I do if I have a right to redress?

    The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 give you rights to redress if you entered a contract because a trader misled you (for example, claiming internal doors were solid oak when they were oak veneer) or used an aggressive commercial practise (for example, pressuring you into entering a contract), such as the right to unwind the contract, the right to a discount, and the right to a refund. These protections are in addition to those provided by the Consumer Rights Act of 2015.

  • What am I entitled to in terms of on-premises, off-premises, and distance sales?

    When a merchant sells products, services, or digital material, he or she must:

    They must comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. They must comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. they must comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. they must comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. they must comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and

  • What if you decide to end the agreement?

    Many distance and off-premises contracts allow you to cancel them within 14 days of signing them. On-premises contracts are exempt from the right to cancel. Before entering into a contract with you, traders must provide you with certain details. If they intend to charge you for ‘extras,’ they must first get your explicit permission.

    There are specific guidelines for distribution and when you become responsible for the products. If the merchant gives you “unsolicited” goods (goods you did not order), you are free to keep them and not pay for them.

    The basic rate cannot be paid if the trader has a telephone helpline for you to inform them about the products you have purchased.

    More details is available in the ‘Buying from company premises: on-premises contracts explained,’ ‘Buying at home: off-premises contracts explained,’ and ‘Buying by internet, phone, and mail order: distance contracts explained’ guides, which clarify the contracts are not protected by the Regulations and when the right to cancel does not apply.

  • What options do I have if I pay with a credit card or a debit card?

    You have rights under the Consumer Credit Act 1974 if you paid for products, services, or digital content with finance arranged by a broker or with your credit card and they cost more than £100 but less than £30,000. For a breach of contract or misrepresentation, such as delivering defective products or making a false claim about a service, Section 75 of the Act makes the finance / card provider as liable as the trader. You have the right to sue the dealer, the finance / card provider, or both.

    If the expense is more than £30,000 but less than £60,260, whether the finance was expressly arranged to purchase the product, service, or digital material, you will be entitled to make a claim against the finance provider under section 75A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

    Consult the Financial Ombudsman Service if you are dissatisfied with the finance provider’s answer.

    You will be entitled to use the chargeback policy if you pay with a debit card or a credit card and the total cost of the product, service, or digital content is less than £100 (in which case the protection under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 will not apply). Card companies use the term chargeback to refer to the process of reclaiming a card payment from the trader’s bank. You can ask the card provider to try to recover the charge if you can prove a breach of contract (for example, the products supplied are faulty). Check with your card issuer to see how the scheme rules relate to your card, if internet purchases are protected, and how long you have to file a claim.

Surcharges on payments

Traders are prohibited from placing surcharges on customers for using the following payment methods under the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012, as amended by the Payment Services Regulations 2017.

Cards such as credit, debit, and charge cards are accepted.

PayPal and other e-payment providers

Other related payment methods include Apple Pay, Android Pay, and others.

Traders may charge a surcharge for other payment methods, but the sum cannot be excessive; it must represent the actual cost of transmitting the payment to the trader. Many sales and service contracts are subject to the Regulations.

You have redress privileges under the Regulations. The trader is unable to enforce any requirement to pay a prohibited surcharge or the portion of a surcharge that is excessive. This implies that you are not required to pay. You are entitled to a refund if you have already paid the surcharge or excess.

If you have a problem with surcharges, contact Citizens Advice customer service.

  • What is the duration of my consumer rights?

    You have six years in England and Wales from the date of the breach of contract (for example, the delivery of defective products or digital content, or bad service) to file a claim against the merchant. In Scotland, however, you have five years from the time you first became aware of a problem to file a lawsuit, beginning from the time you first became aware of the problem.

    This does not imply that the merchandise, digital material, or service must last five or six years; it is up to the buyer to determine what is fair.

  • Is there anything I can do if I have a guarantee or warranty?

    Yes, but there are laws that apply when a trader or manufacturer provides a free guarantee with products, services, or digital material, as laid out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

    So, what does a promise entail? This is a promise made by a seller or a manufacturer that the products, services, or digital content will meet certain requirements, and that if they don’t, you will be entitled to a refund, replacement, or repair. A broker or a retailer is not required to have a guarantee, but if they do, it is legally binding. For example, if a trader refuses to fix the products despite the promise, the trader will be in breach of contract, and you may file a lawsuit. This may be due to the cost of having the goods fixed somewhere else.

    A warranty (or extended warranty) is a type of insurance policy that covers accidental loss or breakdown of products after the trader or manufacturer’s guarantee has expired, although it may cover the same time span as a guarantee and it can have extra coverage. Check the policy’s terms and conditions to see what you’re covered for.

    A guarantee or warranty is in addition to your legal rights as a customer and does not infringe on those rights.

    More information on these laws can be found in the ‘Guarantees and warranties’ guide.

  • What do I do if the trader refuses to assist me?

    If the trader refuses to deal with your complaint or advises you to contact the producer, distributor, or importer, you may remind them that they are responsible for your complaint and that you have the right to expect them to deal with it and find a suitable solution. The trader can check with their supplier in some cases, particularly if the nature of the fault is in question, but this has no bearing on your claim against the trader.

Bills of importance

  • Consumer Credit Act of 1974
  • Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations of 2008
  • Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges) Regulations of 2008
  • Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Consumer Rights Act of 2013
  • Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations of 2015 

Please take note:

This material is provided for educational purposes only; only the courts have the authority to interpret the law authoritatively.

While some amending legislation is referred to separately where it is specifically relevant to the content of a guide, the ‘Key legislation’ links in the guide which only reflect the original version of the legislation. The ‘More Resources’ tab on each link contains information on legislative amendments.

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