Cheshire East Council is advising residents and traders to make themselves aware of how the rights of the consumer have now changed.
Consumers are urged to get to grips with the new provisions in the Consumer Rights Act, which cover a person’s rights when returning goods considered to be faulty.
Traders and retailers are also advised to ensure they know the consumer’s new rights under the law.
‘Know Your New Rights’ is the theme of National Consumer Week which runs from November 2 to November 6, aimed at empowering consumers to shop with confidence.
The Act is a major reform of UK consumer law that streamlines complicated law from eight pieces of legislation into one place. It is hoped that focusing consumers’ minds in the run up to Christmas will help them to understand their new rights which they can exercise all year round.
A customer can now return faulty goods within a 30-day period and obtain a full refund if the core rights of the transaction have been breached. The burden of proof to show the goods are not satisfactory rests with the consumer.
Digital products, such as online films and games, music downloads or e-books are also covered, although the onus is on the consumer to make sure their digital equipment is compatible with the product they are buying.
Traders are advised to make sure all terms and conditions are prominent to the customer at the time of the sale and this also extends to service providers, letting agents and secondary ticket sellers
Cheshire East Trading Standards are supporting the campaign by helping businesses to understand their responsibilities under the act and informing residents of their new rights when purchasing goods and services.
The new legislation is intended to make it easier for both the consumer and retailer to understand how the law can be applied. It is hoped that it will help consumers and businesses to avoid disagreements.
However, if a problem does occur, the changes will make it easier to settle any dispute without the need to resort to court action.
Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member for communities, said:
“We would like businesses and customers to be aware of how the Consumer Rights Act has changed.
“Hopefully this will avoid any unpleasant confrontation or confusion.
“Our trading standards teams are keen to help businesses and ensure they don’t fall foul of the law.
“Taking a responsible and proactive approach can help avoid difficulties further down the line, which is better for the business and the customer.
“Businesses that understand their customers’ rights can also expect repeated and trouble-free custom from them.”
Leon Livermore, CTSI chief executive, said: “Retailers are responsible for training their staff but consumers should spend a few minutes familiarising themselves with the new laws too.
“Consumers who know their rights shop with confidence, saving time and money, which is good for all concerned.
“People should consider their rights whenever they make a purchase but they may wish to take extra care at Christmas.
“Nobody wants to give or receive a defective product but it is important to know how to resolve any issues, should they arise.”
The campaign is run by Citizens Advice, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Consumer advice is available from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or online on www.citizensadvice.org.uk
Free and impartial business advice on a host of trading standards legislation is available on the government-sponsored website, www.businesscompanion.co.uk
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