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Consumer Rights Act 2015

27th May, 2015

There has always been an element of legal uncertainty surrounding the rights of consumers in relation to digital content such as apps and downloaded games.

The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA), which comes into force on the 1 October 2015, deals with various consumer rights including the inconsistency which arises between a consumer’s protection for digital content sold on disk and digital content which is downloaded.

Currently, where software is sold in a tangible form such as on a disk or DVD it is treated as goods under the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (SGA). However, the same digital content, if downloaded, is not considered goods under SGA because this Act does not provide for goods sold in an intangible form. This means that a consumer who has purchased digital content on disk is better protected than a consumer who has purchased digital content by downloading it.

The CRA introduces a new category of product defining digital content as “data which are produced and supplied in digital form” and states that digital content is to be treated in a similar way to goods thereby giving consumers the same rights as if they were buying goods, regardless of the way in which they are supplied.

In addition to providing certainty on the category applicable to digital content, there are also a number of key changes under the CRA that retailers need to be aware of which include:-

• digital content must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose. If not, the consumer has a right to repair or replacement. In addition, if a repair or replacement is impossible or is not carried out within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to the consumer, there is a right for the consumer to a price reduction, which may be the full amount of the price of the goods;

• the obligation of the retailer to provide the consumer with certain specific pre-contract information before the goods are purchased. If these obligations are breached then the consumer has the right to recover costs incurred as a result of the breach, up to the full price of the goods;

• the liability that is now placed on the retailer for damage caused by defective content even if it is provided to the consumer free of charge.

Businesses selling to consumers will need to revise their terms and conditions of sale and business practices to ensure that consumers are provided with the correct rights and remedies as required by this new piece of legislation.

For more information on this, or to have your “Ts and Cs” reviewed, please contact Amanda Wickstead on 01743 453688 or email [email protected].

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