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Government Announces 'Historic' Consumer Rights Bill

By Steve Wynne-Jones
Government Announces 'Historic' Consumer Rights Bill

The government has published the scheme of a new Consumer Rights Bill, which Jobs Minister Richard Bruton says is a 'historic' overhaul of existing consumer rights legislation.

The legislation will include the introduction of a ban on expiry dates for gift cards and vouchers, strengthened rights for consumers purchasing services, consumers who acquire goods as gifts to have the same rights as the purchasers of the goods and the introduction of statutory rights for consumers that download digital content.

“There is a basic imbalance in contracts between consumers and the people they purchase goods and services from – that is why we are constantly seeking to improve our laws in this area to provide better rights for people in a changing environment," said Minister Bruton.

“The changes we are proposing today are aimed at doing two things. Firstly to improve consumer rights in purchasing online goods and services, which obviously accounts for an increasing proportion of consumer transactions. And secondly to clear up the anomalies and gaps in consumer rights that have grown up through years of overlapping legislation at primary, secondary and European level.

"The existing law has too many rules in some areas and too few or none at all in other areas."


The consultation period on the proposed legislation runs until 28 August, with the target date for enactment set at mid-2016.

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