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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

Consumer Rights Act 2015


Date: 30-Oct-2015

October 2015 brings the implementation of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 which will become the main piece of legislation on which consumers will be relying when buying a car, coming into force on 1st October. Most of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 will no longer be relevant to sales made after October 2015.

The idea of course is that the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 will clarify and consolidate existing consumer law which is currently covered in more than 10 different Acts. However, to keeps things complicated, and so keep lawyers in business, those 10 different Acts will not disappear completely and so the law in this area will still be pretty complex.

The two main Acts that are likely to be relevant on a day to day basis relating to the sale of cars are The Sale of Goods Act 1979 and The Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973.

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 covers sales when the customer has paid the dealer for their car. The Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973 covers sales when the customer has, what is commonly known as, bought the car on HP. In an HP sale, it is the finance company and not the dealer who have the legal liability to resolve the matter with the customer if anything goes wrong.

Both of those Acts will be amended come October. The Sale of Goods Act 1979 will continue to relate to business to business contracts and issues such as the passing of title in goods but, the main ‘business to consumer’ provisions will now be found in the new Consumer Rights Act 2015.

Similarly,  ‘business to consumer’ issues from the Supply of Goods (Implied Terms) Act 1973 will also now be incorporated into the new Consumer Rights Act 2015 as will the ‘business to consumer’ issues from the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977.

The new rules mean a customer can reject a car within the first 30 days after purchase.
 
One of the new rules is the ‘short term right to reject’ covered in Section 22 of the Act.
 
By virtue of this Section, if a consumer complains of a fault with the vehicle in the first 30 days, they will be entitled to bring it back for a refund. They can ask for a repair but they are not obliged to accept a repair and can simply insist on a refund which a dealer will be legally obliged to give.
 
The slight saving grace for dealers is that it is down to the consumer to show there is a fault and that it was present at the time of delivery.

Agency workers

It’s now normal practice for companies to use agencies for workers from time to time, this is generally to cover the peak or holiday seasons. Whilst they are seen as temporary staff, it is important to remember that the workers are directly under your supervision and you still have responsibilities for their safety.

Initially it is yourself that specifies to the agency any qualification, skills or abilities required in order to carry out the work safely. You may request relevant previous experience or a level of fitness required for manual work. The agency is then required to pass this information to their workers however it is yourself that also has a legal duty to pass on the same information directly to the worker. It is ideal to put a copy of this in the induction pack available to show the worker on their first day and clarify they meet the criteria.

Further, you can ask the agency to confirm in writing that the worker fits the criteria and send relevant copies of applicable certificates/qualifications.

Once you are happy with the above, you must provide induction training. It is best practice to make it clear to the workers which tasks they are required to carry out and undertake supervision to ensure that any procedures are carried out properly.

If the worker is required for a job that involves potential risks such as working in a workshop, it is your responsibility to ensure a risk assessment of the work is undertaken. Further, the agency must also understand the potential risks. It is best practice to supply the agency with copies of the relevant risk assessments and the contents in particular are relayed to the applicable workers.

If any personal protective equipment is required then you must ensure the worker has it and wears it. Self-employed workers should have their own, however agency workers should have it provided free of charge by the agency. Generally speaking in practice, you may need to pitch in. Protecting workers from the risks on your site is your responsibility and you need to ensure protection is adequate.

It is important to remember, although agency workers are generally temporary, from the first day of their employment, they are entitled to the same access to facilities which other permanent staff members have such as staff canteens or transport and to be informed about job vacancies which arise.

If an agency worker has completed 12 weeks then they will be entitled to the same conditions of employment as if they had been directly employed by the employer on day one of the job, this includes pay (bonus, commission, holiday pay) and working rights (annual leave, paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments).

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