As consumers, we all get new consumer rights starting on Friday 13th June, the main change is that consumers will get 14 days cooling off period for many goods and services, from the TIME of DELIVERY to decide if they wish to keep them.
Yes, 14 days from the date the goods are delivered, not signing the contract, for any distance or by off-premises selling. So if you order a toaster, as a consumer, you’ll get 14 days to decide that you really didn’t want it and be entitled to a full refund.
New EU Consumer Rights Proposed
The EU wish to standardise our rights, for most products and services, across Europe, making them easier to understand and improve our chances of getting refunds or recompense for goods we are unhappy with.
The Government signed up to the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) 3 years ago, but it comes into effect on 13th June 2014. This is also known as The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
There are however some important exemptions, thankfully windows is one of them, but you must still take care.
Bespoke products, one’s that are “made to the consumer’s specification” or urgent repairs or maintenance when a trader is invited into a consumers home, will be exempt. So for the vast majority of installers, providing windows and doors etc to bespoke sizes and specifications they will be exempt, however what if you are replacing Crittall, standard metal windows?
When they were ordered and fitted they were standard sizes, and I suspect if you replaced them with similar standard size windows, there wouldn’t be any exemption, if you are selling bespoke PVCu these would be “non standard”, as there isn’t a standard range (unless you have a standard range of sizes).
Additionally consumers must be told about lots of information, before the contract is agreed or signed, failure to advise them of their new right, what their cancellation terms are or their course of redress should they have an issue, may make the contract null and void or give them additional powers….automatically!
For instance, if an installer fails to communicate the new cooling off period of 14 days, then the consumer gets 365 days plus the 14 days, as an automatic right. So long after taking receipt of the new toaster, you consumers could rightfully take it back, for a full refund, if they weren’t told about their rights initially! Installers meanwhile will face a fine of upto £5k
Failure to provide certain items will give a consumer a cooling-off period of up to 379 days, and the trader would be liable to a fine of up to £5,000
All installers should be contacting their trade association, to obtain model contracts so that they are protected.
The GGF have documents, model contracts etc for their members and will be holding daily seminars at the FIT show on the key Consumer issues, at 1.30pm 10th, 11th and 12th June. Non-members and Members are all welcome to attend.
Look out for separate legislation Consumer Rights Bill (CRB) next summer!