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NEW PROTECTION FOR CONSUMERS UNDER THE CONSUMERS GUARANTEE ACT

From 17 June 2014 consumers will receive greater statutory protection under the Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 ("the Act"), specifically, the time at which consumers acquire rights to goods (time of supply is confirmed) and a new guarantee is added to the existing protections offered by the Act as to the time of delivery (guarantee as to delivery).

Time of Supply

Under the Act goods are treated as supplied at the time when you, the consumer, acquire the right to possess the good(s). Typically, the right to possession happens when you have paid the supplier for the good(s).

However, the Act has a new protection for consumers, in that, the "guarantee of acceptable quality" will apply at the time good(s) are delivered to you. This means that consumers will be able to claim remedies for delivery of damaged goods from the supplier. The basic remedy available for consumers is to require the supplier to remedy the damaged goods. A supplier can remedy damaged goods by:

a) Repairing the goods; or

b) Replacing the goods with goods of identical type; or

c) Refunding the consumer's money back to them.

Guarantee as to Delivery

This new guarantee means that if a supplier is responsible for delivering goods to you, you will be entitled to reject the goods and obtain compensation from the supplier if the goods arrive substantially late.

Where a supplier is responsible for delivering or arranging the delivery of a good to you, the guarantee as to delivery provides that the supplier must deliver the good(s) to you at the date or within the period agreed to between you and the supplier, or if no agreed time has been set then within a reasonable time.

If suppliers fail to comply with this guarantee you will have the right to:

a) If the failure is of a substantial character (i.e. a lengthy delay), reject the good(s); and

b) Obtain compensation, whether or not you have also rejected the good(s).

Non-delivery of goods will definitely be a breach of substantial character. Therefore, you as the consumer will be entitled to reject the good(s) you purchased and seek a full replacement of the good(s), or seek a refund of any monies paid to the supplier. Further, if you have suffered any reasonably foreseeable consequential losses arising from the failure to deliver or from late delivery of the good(s) (e.g. lost business) you will also be entitled to claim these losses from the supplier too.

And remember, when buying goods from a supplier, goods must match their description, have no undisclosed defects, and be fit for their normal purpose, safe, durable, of reasonable quality, and acceptable in look and finish.

Written by James Moran at 09:00

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