Digital goods protected by UK consumer law

The UK has changed its consumer laws whcih now, for the first time, protect a buyer purchasing digital goods. The consumer law overhaul is hailed as "the biggest for a generation“.

Starting from today, if a buyer finds his app (or any other digital goods) faulty, he can ask for it to be repaired, he can ask for a new one, or he can ask for a refund.

For online purchases of physical goods, consumers additionally have the right to a full refund within 30-days of purchase. The media across the UK have said the new law is not perfect, but it is a "welcomed change“.

Among other changes are:

  • Making it easier for shoppers to challenge hidden fees and charges, preventing companies from enforcing terms if they are deemed to be unfair – even if they are written in plain language.
  • In the case of a dispute, certified dispute resolution providers are being set up across different sectors to help as a quicker and cheaper alternative to going through the courts.

Richard Lloyd of the digital consumer group 'Which?' agrees that the new laws offer consumers more clarity:

"Consumer law was crying out to be brought up to date to cope with the requirements and demands of today’s shoppers. Getting a refund or repair, dealing with issues with faulty digital downloads and understanding contracts should now all be much simpler."

The business minister Nick Boles said: “These changes will also simplify the law for businesses so they can spend less time worrying about unclear and unwieldy regulations.