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CONSUMER RIGHTS BILL – GGF CAMPAIGN GATHERS MOMENTUM

Following the GGF’s recent press release “GGF Members Quiz BIS”, the Federation submitted its evidence to the Parliamentary Public Bill Committee on 12th February 2014, allowing plenty of time for the  21 MPs who sit on the Committee to consider the GGF’s concerns. The evidence submitted and the contents of the Bill will be reviewed right up to the 13th March 2014 when the Committee will meet to discuss and consider all the issues raised before the Bill is enacted later this year. In the meantime, the GGF has also written to other relevant MPs, and has encouraged GGF Members to write to their local MP.

 

The Consumer Rights Bill was laid before Parliament in January and is expected to be implemented this autumn. Its aim is to simplify consumer rights for both consumers and traders.

 

The key concern submitted is that the Bill will not protect businesses from a small number of consumers who may look to take advantage of the Bill in order to gain what they might see as “free goods”.  As the Bill is currently drafted, a consumer could reject a houseful of windows, or even a whole conservatory, based on one fault, even if the overall installation was satisfactory.

 

The GGF believes that the Bill should be amended to make a distinction between generic goods (such as TVs and toasters) and goods made to a consumer’s specification.  In the instances where goods have been made to a consumer’s specification, or materials have been cut to size on site and are of no other use, the Bill should be amended in the remedies and partial rejection clauses of the Bill so that the consumer may only reject that part of the product or complete product which is not faulty, and may not reject the remaining products. Taking an example of replacement windows, if a consumer were to order 10 windows made to their specification for their house, and one of these windows had a fault, then the GGF would propose that so long as the trader is able to repair or provide a replacement for the faulty window from the same design suite as the others, then consumers should only be able to access the remedies under the Bill to the one window rather than all 10 windows.  This amendment would provide protection to consumers and businesses, particularly as the nine windows which are not faulty would be impossible for the trader to resell at their normal price.

 

The above evidence is in addition to other evidence submitted by the GGF to the BIS (Department of Business, Innovation and Skills) Select Committee last August which stated that there should a separate chapter in the Bill for “mixed” contracts where there are goods and services together, and that there should be a separate chapter for building and home improvement work.

 

The main aspects of this Bill which will affect the glazing industry are:-

 

  • The Bill will introduce an “early right to reject” for goods – giving consumers the right to reject a product for a fault within 30 days and have a full refund, or agree one repair or replacement

 

  • Time stops until the repair or replacement is given – once given the consumer has the remainder of the 30 days or at least 7 days to decide if the fault has been resolved. If the fault is not resolved then the consumer can then reject (known as the “final right to reject”) and have a full refund or accept the product with the fault and have a price reduction. The consumer cannot opt for a further replacement AND a price reduction – it is one or the other

 

  • A fault which is a latent defect can be complained about within 6 years of delivery (5 years in Scotland). The remedy is repair or replacement – if the fault is not resolved then the consumer can reject the product and get a refund subject to deduction for use, or keep the product with the fault and have a price reduction. The consumer can of course opt for a further repair or replacement to fix the fault

 

The GGF met with representatives of BIS in August and October of last year, to discuss concerns the GGF has over the parts of the Bill which will have a negative impact on the glazing industry.

 

Brian Smith, GGF Director of Home Improvement, will be presenting at the GGF Regions from February to May, explaining to Members the detail of how the Bill will work, along with the workings of the Consumer Rights Directive and its impact on cooling-off periods. Brian will also be presenting updates during the FIT Show Seminars at Telford International Centre in June.

 

The Directive will be implemented by the Government on 13th June 2014.

 

In the meantime the GGF has secured another meeting with BIS later in March to discuss the issues raised.

 

To read the GGF’s submitted evidence to the Parliamentary Public Bill Committee please click here http://www.ggf.org.uk/publication/submission_to_public_bill_committee

 

To read the article “GGF Members Quiz BIS” please click here http://www.ggf.org.uk/news/ggf_members_quiz_bis_1393342112

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