On 1st October 2015 the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) came into force replacing existing legislation relating to business-to-consumer transactions, including the Sale of Goods Act 1979 and the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982. The changes were made to make it clearer and easier to understand what rights consumers have when purchasing goods or services therefore allowing businesses to sell to them with confidence.
Definition of the 'trader'
The legislation refers to the ‘trader' - that is, the business that is responsible for responding to the consumer if they choose to exercise their rights under the Consumer Rights Act. If a vehicle is purchased under a finance agreement the trader is defined as the finance provider. But under a tripartite relationship the dealership would source and sell the vehicle and have a role in assisting the consumer with repairs or arranging for a replacement.
The CRA extends the list of expectations beyond that provided for in previous legislation, thereby giving the consumer more protection. It is therefore important that dealerships meet what consumers can reasonably expect, namely that:
- The vehicle is of satisfactory quality
- The vehicle is fit for purpose
- The vehicle is as described
- The pre-contract information provided is included as a term in the contract
- The vehicle matches the sample
- The vehicle must match the model seen or examined – the consumer must be aware of any differences in the specification or quality of the model delivered if different to that advertised or demonstrated
- Installation as part of conformity of goods within the contract – the vehicle, including any instruments or digital devices have to be ready to use on delivery
- Any goods included with the purchase of the vehicle, such as a sat nav, onboard computer, phone etc. should be in good working order