Consumer Rights Bill 2013-2014 (and probably 2015!)

The much anticipated Consumer Rights Bill is continuing to meander its way through the UK law making machine known as Parliament.  In brief, proposed law is drafted in the form of a Bill.  It has to go through 5 stages through the House of Commons and a further 5 stages through the House of Lords.  Both Houses then have to approve all the amendments before it gets Royal Assent and then it becomes an Act of Parliament.   

At present, the Consumer Rights Bill is next due its 4th stage through the House of Commons on a “date to be announced”.  This means it currently still has NINE more stages before it eventually gets to become law.  And indeed, even when it finally becomes an Act of Parliament there will doubtlessly be a 3 month period or so before it actually comes into effect.

Not that the motor industry should welcome its arrival with open arms.  For it will contain significant changes to the law surrounding the Sale of Goods.  I shall pass no comment on the appropriateness of a 30 day rejection period (which can be suspended by 7 days to allow a repair).  But note the following:

A “consumer” will be defined (as it stands in the Bill) as “means an individual acting for purposes that are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession”.

And that “A trader claiming that an individual was not acting for purposes wholly or mainly outside the individual’s trade, business, craft or profession must prove it.”

And so it will not be the consumer to have to prove that they were not buying something in the course of their business but for the motor trader to somehow be expected to be able to prove that they were!  How they are meant to do this is open to question.  The problem will be when someone claims to be buying from within the motor trade only to then say that they were buying something for themselves and that, post-sale, they now expect all of their consumer rights.....  

Published: 06 Jun 2014

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