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The Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) came into force on 1 October 2015 and represents the biggest overhaul of consumer law for decades. It sets out a simple modern framework of consumer rights, with the aim of increasing consumer confidence and make enforcement easier.

 Specifically, the CRA 2015 is designed to:

  • Consolidate in one place key consumer rights covering consumer contracts for goods, digital content, and services (Part 1).
  • Reform and consolidate the law relating to unfair terms in consumer contracts (Part 2).
  • Consolidate and simplify enforcers’ powers as listed in Schedule 5 to investigate potential breaches of consumer law and clarify that certain enforcers (trading standards) can operate across local authority boundaries (Part 3).
  • Give the civil courts and public enforcement bodies greater flexibility to take the most appropriate action for consumers when dealing with breaches or potential breaches of consumer law (Part 3).
  • Introduce easier routes for consumers and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to challenge anti-competitive behaviour through the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) (Part 3).

 The CRA 2015 extends to England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. However, some parts of the Act include separate rules for Scotland.

This briefing paper outlines the background to the CRA 2015 and considers the consumer protection provisions found in Parts 1 & 2. It looks at statutory rights in respect of consumer contracts for goods, digital content and services and considers how the Act treats unfair terms in consumer contracts and notices. In the process, this paper outlines the main structural changes to consumer regulatory and enforcement bodies.

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