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This is another in our series of articles breaking down aspects of the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The Consumer Rights Act 2015 is now the law. From 01 October all consumer contracts will be governed by this Act.
There has always been some debate regarding the rules that govern contracts that deal with both the supply of goods and the supply of services, i.e. the supply and fitting of parts to a vehicle. Previous consumer protection legislation provided different rights to consumers for the breach of a goods contract than for the breach of a services contract. If a member supplied and fitted goods to a vehicle is that a contract for goods, a contract for services or both.
Section 3 of the Consumer Rights Act makes it clear; it is both. The Act goes on to specifically define 2 particular types of mixed contract: the supply and installation of goods, and the supply and installation of digital content.
Installation as part of conformity of the goods with the contract (Section 15)
“ (1)Goods do not conform to a contract to supply goods if—
(a)installation of the goods forms part of the contract,
(b)the goods are installed by the trader or under the trader’s responsibility, and
(c)the goods are installed incorrectly.”
As such a failure to install any goods correctly will result in the goods themselves also being in breach of the contract. Where this is important is when it comes to the remedies available to consumers.
“(4)If the goods do not conform to the contract under section 15 …the provisions about them and when they are available are—
(a)the right to repair or replacement (section 23); and
(b)the right to a price reduction or the final right to reject (sections 20 and 24).”
It is important to note that the remedy available to consumers for a breach of a mixed contract is different from that of a contract to supply of goods alone. Consumers are not entitled to a short term right of rejection where goods are also installed by the supplying garage, and should first provide an opportunity to rectify the service insofar as it is necessary to put the matter right, even if any fault occurs within the first 30 days.
Paul Carroll, Solicitor, Motor Industry Legal Services