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How car dealers can navigate the legal minefield in 2015

Despite their obvious importance to you and your business, you may be getting a little tired of hearing the letters F, C, and A, especially if your business is already fully compliant. But what about non-FCA regulation changes on the horizon? We asked a selection of legal experts for their advice on regulatory developments in the year ahead:

 

Matthew Wilmot, senior associate, DentonsMatthew Wilmot, senior associate, Dentons

The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014

The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014 amend the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which set out a general prohibition on unfair commercial practices. The regulations provided consumers with rights to redress where a trader engaged in misleading or aggressive practices. The new regulation 27A sets out when a consumer has a right of redress.

For business-to-consumer contracts, the consumer will have the right to ‘unwind’, to be exercised within 90 days. This means the contract comes to an end and the consumer has a right to a refund (and, where applicable, the goods are restored to the trader). For consumer-to-business contracts, the consumer has a right to return the goods, or, if they cannot be returned in the same condition, to be refunded any difference between the amount the trader paid and the amount the goods are worth.

Customers will also have the right to a discount, which applies to business-to-consumer contracts if the consumer has not exercised the right to unwind. Depending on the seriousness of the prohibited practice, the discount can be 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%.

The right to damages is available for additional financial losses and alarm, distress, physical discomfort and inconvenience caused by the prohibited practice. The loss must have been reasonably foreseeable and there is a due diligence defence available to traders.

Dealers can implement the following to help prevent this: recording telephone calls with customers, providing training to employees and introducing clear policies and procedures for negotiating and finalising contracts with consumers. However, dealers should still seek specialist advice to ensure all such steps comply with all applicable legislation.


>> Alternative dispute resolution -- Dennis Chapman, Lawgistics



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