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Government announces new measures to ‘transform consumer rights’

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has published a consultation on new measures which are set to deliver ‘greater clarity and transparency’ on consumer rights.

The Consumer Rights Directive, which was agreed by the European Commission in 2011, aims to ‘boost the confidence’ of consumers and businesses by ensuring that customers have access to accurate information when purchasing goods and services, including details of the full costs involved and the implications of any contract they may be entering into.

The Directive includes provisions on the following areas:

The information that is provided before a consumer buys goods or services, both at the trader’s premises, and when away from the trader’s premises
Cancellation rights and responsibilities where goods or services are purchased away from the trader’s premises
The delivery times for goods, including clarification of deadlines and responsibilities
Additional payments, applied on top of the main price of a purchase, which would require the express consent of the consumer (with ‘pre-ticked’ consent boxes set to be outlawed)
The fees charged for a particular method of payment, such as credit card surcharges
Commenting on the new consultation, Consumer Affairs Minister Norman Lamb said, ‘The Consumer Rights Directive will put an end to certain bad business practices and help consumers make well-informed decisions when buying products or services. It will also boost business confidence, setting out clearer rules and responsibilities and cutting red tape by reducing compliance costs’.

The consultation can be viewed here: www.bis.gov.uk/consultations.