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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 (opens in new tab)“.

Starting from today (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab)“.

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.

Sead Fadilpašić
Sead Fadilpašić

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.