A raft of rule changes, including a 30-day no-quibble money back guarantee on a faulty car, will make complaining much easier for motorists.
The Consumer Rights Directive, which comes into force across Europe on Friday (13 June), kick-starts the first of these, with changes including an extension from seven to 14 days of the period a buyer has to cancel an online order. Refunds must also be given within 14 days of returning goods.
The UK’s Consumer Rights Bill, set to become law this year, goes further still. In the biggest shake-up of consumer law in decades, it will consolidate eight existing pieces of legislation, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999.
Confusing terms will be removed, such as the “reasonable” period that consumers currently have to reject faulty goods. Instead, consumers will have 30 days to reject the vehicle, without needing to accept a repair first.
The Bill also proposes that in the first six months of ownership, motorists will be able to reject a faulty car after just one failed repair, albeit with some deductions from the refund for usage. There’s currently no limit on the number of repairs a car maker can attempt before accepting a rejection.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, plus the motorists’ complaints arbitration body, Motor Codes, both argue that the last rule change is unreasonable. An SMMT spokesman said: “Sometimes things take longer to figure out and one repair could lead to a different problem.”
A Motor Codes spokesman added: “If you’re buying a complex piece of kit, there may be minor glitches. That’s what the new car warranty is there for.”
Enforcement will also be tackled under the new bill. Trading Standards says it will increase its powers to force dealers to compensate motorists if they believe they have traded unfairly.
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