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New bill of rights ‘will benefit businesses and consumers’

Further details of plans to clarify and enhance consumer rights have been unveiled by the Government.

The major overhaul of consumer law, which was announced in this year’s Queen’s Speech, has been hailed as the most radical in decades.

The Consumer Rights Bill aims to streamline numerous pieces of current legislation into a single consumer bill, and to introduce new rights for consumers and businesses.

Consumer minister Jo Swinson said, ‘It is about time consumers knew what their rights are and businesses had clearer information on what is suspected of them when problems inevitably do arise. That is why we have put clarity and fairness at the heart of the proposed consumer bills of rights’.

Under the proposals, consumers will gain the right to recover money after one failed attempt to repair faulty goods (or one faulty replacement), to demand that substandard services are re-attempted or to receive a discount, and to obtain a repair or replacement for faulty digital content, including online games, films, music downloads, and e-books.

A new 30-day timeframe during which consumers can return faulty goods and receive a full refund has also been proposed.

Other measures outlined in the bill include faster resolution for companies that have experienced breaches in competition law and a new requirement that enforcers give reasonable notice to businesses when carrying out routine inspections.

It is hoped that the clarification and consolidation of legislation will help small and medium-sized businesses, who often struggle under the burden of red tape.

The draft bill will now progress through Parliament and is set to become law next year.