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New laws protecting car-buyers come into force

The Consumer Rights Act replaces the Sale of Goods Act on October 1st 2015

Andy Pringle

Words by: Andy Pringle

Published on 29 September 2015 | 0 min read

  • Consumer Rights Act replaces the Sale of Goods Act
  • Buyers allowed to claim full refund if car turns out to be faulty within 30 days
  • If defect found within six months, buyers entitled to a repair or replacement
The new Consumer Rights Act comes into force from the beginning of October, and not only will it give car buyers more rights, it will also cover ‘services’, which include servicing, repairs and maintenance.
Replacing the Sale of Goods Act (and some other legislation), the new Act is wide-ranging and covers the sale of new and used cars, but retains the old act’s demand that all products must be of ‘satisfactory quality’, ‘fit for purpose’ and ‘as described’. What’s new is that, if the product sold fails to meet one or more of those criteria, buyers are entitled to reject the product within the first 30 days of buying it. This ‘early right to reject’ replaces the previous rule, which said retailers only need to repair or replace a faulty item or part.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
Consumer Rights Act 2015
At the same time, the new act introduces another crucial difference: defining the time period in which buyers are entitled to a refund. Previously, this period was only ever defined as ‘reasonable time.’
If a defect is found after 30 days, but within six months, buyers are entitled to request a repair, replacement or refund. The law assumes that the fault was there at the time of delivery, unless the seller can prove it wasn’t. However, the new legislation stipulates that dealers will have only one chance at repair or replacement – unless otherwise agreed. They cannot make repeated attempts to fix a problem; and, if they fail, buyers are entitled to a full or partial refund. The law says that, in almost every case, there can be no reductions from any refund given in the first six months. However, cars are the one exception, when the seller is allowed to make a ‘reasonable’ reduction for the amount the car has been used.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
Consumer Rights Act 2015
There’s no legal reason that a buyer can’t seek redress for a fault after the first six months, but from that point, it’s up to them to prove that the fault was there at the time of delivery.
The Act applies to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but it should be noted that the Act only applies to cars bought from registered traders. If you buy a car from a private seller, you are not covered by this legislation, but by other laws. Likewise, if you have any issues with a car purchased when the contract was signed before October, then that is still covered by the Sale of Goods Act.

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