Consumers now have greater protection from rogue traders and more power to get their money back if they have been treated unfairly.
Anyone who is bullied or misled into buying services or goods they neither need nor want, now has a period of up to 90 days to take legal action.
The change to the law is effective as of 1 October 2014.
Examples could include those who are harassed into home improvements by a door-to-door salesman when they really don’t need it or somebody who is misled into purchasing a mobile phone by false promises on download speeds and network coverage.
Also included would be cases such as a young person being stopped in the street and convinced to pay agent fees after being promised a modelling career, or an elderly person who is bullied into buying goods they can’t really afford.
The new rights will introduce:
• a new 90 day period for victims to get out of a contract. Beyond this period consumers will still be able to get a discount on the price paid, as much as 100% depending on the actions of the trader. Previously there was no right to a discount. Consumers could seek damages in the civil courts but this can be extremely complex
• a right to damages for any additional losses or stress suffered as a result of the actions of the trader
• a brand new right to take personal action through the civil court for misleading or aggressive demands for payment, for example aggressive or misleading debt collection.
The reforms are aimed to benefit the elderly and vulnerable in particular. People over the age of 55 lose an average of more than £1,000 when they are victims of rogue traders.
Crime reporting agency Action Fraud estimates that consumers lose £6.6 billion every year due to unfair trading.
Call Citizens Advice on 08444 111 444 or Age UK 0800 169 6565 if you would like advice on any of the issues mentioned in this article.