098 HPM 1115

HPM November 2015

Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com CHIMNEYS,FLUES&FIREPLACES Consumer protection comes of age The Consumer Rights Act 2015 became law on October 1, heralding, the government hopes, a new period of marketplace protection with fewer opportunities for consumers to be mislead by retailers and suppliers. Michael Ball, Schiedel Chimney Systems CEO , believes the law is good for both the consumer and the manufacturer... The essence of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 is an insistence that all consumer rights must be clearly written in language which is easy to understand while being legally sound. This has been drawn up to remove ambiguities and complexities. The language used is easy to incorporate into seller’s conditions, with appropriate opportunities for them to customise the language to include descriptions of the product. Such sections that deal with how to return faulty goods, or how to claim under company guarantees that offer very good deals, that, for example, go beyond the normal limitations of the usual warranty, but where their effects are masked by small print. The changes in the law cover, what should happen when goods are faulty; unfair terms in a contract; what happens when a business is acting in a way which isn’t competitive; written notices for routine inspections to be given by public enforcers, such as Trading Standards; and greater flexibility for public enforcers to respond to breaches of consumer law, such as seeking redress for consumers who have suffered harm. REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT As well as these changes there are two new areas of law covering what should happen when digital content is faulty – the act now gives consumers a clear right to repair or replacement. The act covers how services should match up to what has been agreed, and what should happen when they do not. It also explains the situation when these services are not delivered with reasonable care and skill, and provides for reasonable compensation, for example, giving some money back if it is not practical to bring the service into line with what was agreed. Because of the act, the law will be clearer and easier to understand, meaning that consumers can buy and businesses can sell to them with confidence. On the rare occasions when problems arise, they will be able to sort out disputes more quickly and cheaply. The changes are relevant to all consumers and every business which sells directly to consumers. UK consumers spend £90 billion a month on a wide variety of goods. Transparent rights will help them to make better choices when they buy, generating the opportunity for businesses to compete, innovate and grow. With these changes in place, businesses and consumers will create an WWW.HPMMAG.COM economy based on productive relationships and fairly won business reputations. Businesses and consumers who understand their rights and responsibilities will also save time and money. The government is clear about the effects this should have on businesses. It says: “A better understanding of the law will help businesses to serve their customers well. For example, they can be clear with a customer demanding a refund exactly when their rights entitle them to one. And if a problem arises in how a business provides a service, it can be certain what it may be required to do about it”. It has provided a help point on its Business Companion Website to enable small businesses implement the changes, and to guide them in the task of displaying clearer information about their gods and services. The effect on consumers is intended to be significant and wholly beneficial. The government adds: “Consumers will better understand how they should be treated by businesses. They will be able to select the best deals and hold businesses to account more effectively for poor quality or service. For example, consumers will be able to compare important terms in a new contract more easily. They will be able to select the business which provides the best overall offer rather than simply the cheapest”. One significant change is making explicit what is already contained in the law elsewhere. Consumers will know that they can get a repair 98 NOVEMBER 2015 HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY The Consumer Rights Act 2015 will help protect consumers who spend £90 billion a year or replacement if they discover a product is faulty more than 30 days after purchase or delivery. Of course, this only applies if the product was supposed to last longer, as all goods, except those which are perishable, or consumables, do. Schiedel Chimney Systems has already been following these guidelines, because it clearly adds to the confidence a customer might feel in the product. It believes that by treating the customer to a good deal without any ambiguity in the terms and conditions of purchase will boost the confidence customers have in Schiedel and its products. Recently, Schiedel launched a lifetime guarantee for one of its chimney systems. Such promises are notorious for their pitfalls, but Schiedel spelt out the terms from the start so it was clear the installation had to be professionally installed and maintained, and operated as the instructions and manuals laid down. The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 is right for both customer and seller. If everything is clear, customers’ attitudes improve, and companies sell more products. We are a confident company, and we have high standards of manufacturing – and we are very happy to offer a guarantee in unambiguous language. No sensible or reputable company should be in the business of hiding behind minute get out clauses –and we are happy that the government has brought in a law that enforces this on everyone. enquiry number 151


HPM November 2015
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