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UK consumer rights laws now cover digital downloads

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The Consumer Rights Act 2015 becomes official legislation in the UK today, pulling several, previously separate consumer rights laws together into a simpler structure. The Act also brings in clearer rules, such as a mandatory 30-day period in which sellers must fully refund customers who've received faulty goods, and for the first time, digital products are now covered. That means consumers who download games, software, music, e-books, films and TV shows are legally entitled to refunds, repairs and replacements if that content is deemed "faulty." Digital goods must be "of satisfactory quality," "fit for particular purpose" and "as described," according to the Act's legalese, though there is some wiggle-room within these broad statements.

It's reasonable to expect new software might include a few bugs, for example, but consumers now have the legal right to a refund or price reduction if, say, they bought a digital copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection to discover multiplayer is utterly broken. Similarly, if you rent a film online and the provider's servers go down, meaning you're unable to watch it, the same rights apply. In addition to the new Consumer Rights Act responding to our evolving consumption habits, it imposes stricter rules on service providers. Specifically, consumers are now able to challenge terms and conditions they consider unfair, or may have been purposefully buried in contract small print. This is likely to be particularly relevant to telecoms providers, and will give you the legal right to argue the toss if you're stung with price hikes or exit charges you weren't aware of when you signed on the dotted line.

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