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MPs want greater customer security

EXTRA protections to stop customers being unfairly left out of pocket must be included in proposed new laws bolstering consumer rights, a committee of MPs has recommended.

Under a major shake-up of rights, which the Government predicts will help boost the economy by £4 billion over the next decade, shoppers will be able to get some money back after one failed repair or replacement, demand that substandard services are redone or compensated with a price reduction, and receive a repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as film and music downloads.

But the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee warned that the plans do not go far enough to protect customers in some areas and called on ministers to make changes before full legislation reaches parliament.

It highlights that customers would have the right to a refund if they bought a faulty CD but would not if a download of the same music did not work. MPs also warned that plans to apply a statutory right that traders must carry out services with reasonable care and skill will do little to help customers.

Committee chairman Adrian Bailey said: "Consumers are less interested in whether a service was conducted with reasonable care and skill than whether it achieved the stated result. "

Ministers say the draft Consumer Rights Bill will streamline overlapping and complicated areas from eight pieces of legislation for consumers who currently spend more than 59 million hours a year dealing with goods problems.

It also proposes a set 30-day time period for when consumers can return faulty goods and get a full refund and aims to help businesses to spend less time having to work out their legal obligations when dealing with complaints from customers.

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