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Potential impact to digital content via the proposed New Consumer Rights Bill

The proposed Consumer Rights Bill is working its way through Parliament and if passed in its current form, will provide the most significant reform of the UK consumer law in many years.

A press release from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills was issued on 23 January 2014 - essentially the proposals are intended to streamline many confusing and overlapping areas of consumer law, whilst introducing new rights and remedies for both consumers and businesses.

One of the most significant reforms will provide some much needed clarity for the rights of consumers in connection with digital content - particularly regarding defective or sub-standard content. Such reforms would include:

  • a clear definition of what is meant by digital content – “data which are produced and supplied in a digital form”. It will include content accessed by consumers either physically (eg using a disk) or via intangible media (eg downloads over the internet)
  • a set of quality standards that digital content should meet
  • a set of remedies available to consumers when digital content is below the quality standards - including an entitlement to a full refund or a repair or replacement of the digital content, together with additional rights if the digital content damages the consumer’s other digital content or devices.

Jenny Willott (Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs) explained:

…the Consumer Rights Bill sets out in 1 key place consumer rights for goods, services and, for the first time, digital content. Well-informed, confident consumers are vital to building a stronger economy….and businesses will spend less time working out their legal obligations when they get complaints from customers.”

For more information please contact Vanessa Barnett, Partner

T: +44 (0)20 7203 5228