Consumer Rights Bill Changes – proposed 30 day right to reject
I wanted to write to congratulate the GGF on their efforts in relation to the proposed changes to the Consumer Rights Bill. Some time ago I wrote to the press to discuss my concerns for the industry if changes to the Consumer Rights Directive were to pass in 2013, allowing consumers a 14 day cooling off period. There are now changes in the pipeline which could see the consumer being offered a 30 day cooling off period including a right to reject all windows on a project if just one were to contain a fault and if installed inside those 30 days. The GGF are fighting our corner, but we should all be doing our bit to affect change.
Of course, consumer rights are essential. We are an industry renowned for pressure selling, albeit the minority that gives the rest of us a bad reputation, so it’s essential that the consumer is protected. The Bill has been put forward as a measure to make consumer rights much more straightforward, I’m just concerned that it does not fully understand the nuances of the home improvement industry.
As it stands at the moment, under the Bill an installer could fit a whole house of windows before the 30 day period is finished - because consumers are demanding short lead times from us - only to be told that they have all been rejected because one had a fault. In this case all of the windows must be removed and the consumer fully refunded. This has massive implications because as soon as windows are installed they become part of the structure of the building. The caveat being that the rejected non-faulty windows must be made available to the installer to re-use. Of course, being made to fit, they would be unlikely to be re-useable elsewhere. Take into account also the labour involved fitting and then removing the windows, and any potential gains from re-selling them are essentially negated.
It’s clear then that the Bill needs some work if it is to benefit both consumers and businesses alike. The GGF, to their credit, have been meeting with government officials to try and reach a reasonable conclusion. They have advised their members to write to their local MPs to propose that custom made home improvement works be treated differently to consumables under the Bill. Unusually, they have made this a letter template available to both members and non-members alike via the news page of their website at www.ggf.org.uk/news/consumer_rights_bill_help_ggf_raise_awareness
Managing Director, Tradelink