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Consumer Rights Directive comes into force but survey suggests not enough businesses know the detail

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The Consumer Rights Directive comes into force today, and online retailers now have six months to comply with guidelines that boost consumers rights.

By June, new laws will cover the provision of digital content, treating it as goods rather than a service. Contract terms will need to be made more clear, including on software and data products sold via mobile phones or other devices, and there will be a 30-day time period for consumers to return goods for refund.

But law firm Eversheds, which surveyed more than 200 business leaders on the changes, says not enough are up to speed. Some 37% did not know what impact the Consumer Rights Bill would have on their business, while 60% said it would have some level of impact.

Matthew Gough, partner at Eversheds, said: “The changes outlined in the Consumer Rights Bill are well overdue, especially in terms of accommodating advances in technology.

“Clarification of the law will bring benefits for consumers and businesses alike, but many businesses appear to be unaware of what is coming and unsure of the impact it will have on their businesses. Ignorance is bliss at the moment, with only 26% of respondents expressing convern about the impact this change will have on their business.

“In coming months it is vital that many more businesses familiarize themselves with the changes ahead and ensure they are prepared to review and update their sales practices, both online and offline, in order to comply with the changes when they come into force.”

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