The UK’s New Consumer Rights Act Will Protect The Right to Return eBooks

The UK's New Consumer Rights Act Will Protect The Right to Return eBooks Law Legislation We've all encountered badly made ebooks, but with only Amazon offering a reasonable return policy there wasn't much that we could do about it. But today that situation changed for readers in the UK.

The UK has enacted a new law which extends existing consumer protection laws to include digital content. The Consumer Rights Act guarantees that anyone who buys digital content such as DVDs, online films and games, music downloads, or  ebooks in the UK will have the opportunity to return the content and get a refund should it prove defective.

The refund period is limited to only 30 days, but the law also gives UK consumers an addition five months to request that the retailer repair or replace the faulty digital content. If the repair or replacement is unsuccessful, the consumer can then claim a refund or a price reduction if they wish to keep the product.

The new law also includes provisions giving consumers the option to challenge terms and conditions which are not fair, or are hidden in the fine print of a website's ToS. There's no guarantee that a consumer will win the challenge, but they do have the chance to get a third party to mediate the dispute rather than having to take the retailer to court.

With UK consumers having spent an estimated £2.8 billion on downloaded music, games, and videos last year, the new regulations are long overdue.

The new rules will probably have a greater impact on game downloads than ebooks, but readers will still come out ahead. Fiascos like the screwed up Sim City launch will prove an expensive and even more public error for developers under the new law, but the law will also give readers a recourse for DRM making their ebooks disappear.

That recourse is only good for six months after purchase, which doesn't strike me as fair at all, but it is better than nothing.

Mashable

image by lurker4hire

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

5 Comments

  1. Bill Emery1 October, 2015

    Right. You return the unread portion of the eBook, and I’ll return the unspent portion of your money.

    I don’t really see this new piece of legislation working all that well.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder1 October, 2015

      That is a problem, yes. But it’s still good that consumers now have a right to return horribly formatted ebooks.

      Reply
  2. kariss2 October, 2015

    I work for a DRM free publisher, we have no way of getting people to ‘return’ ebooks. Once they’ve got it they’ve got it. So in theory doesn’t this mean people can just buy all our ebooks then ask for a refund and have that and the book?

    Reply
  3. […] UK’s New Consumer Rights Act Protects Ebooks (Digital Reader) The UK has enacted a new law which extends existing consumer protection laws to include digital content. The Consumer Rights Act guarantees that anyone who buys digital content, such as DVDs, online films and games, music downloads or ebooks, in the UK will have the opportunity to return the content and get a refund should it prove defective. The refund period is limited to only 30 days, but the law also gives UK consumers an additional five months to request that the retailer repair or replace the faulty digital content. […]

    Reply
  4. Simone2 October, 2015

    @Kariss I don’t see why you couldn’t request a refund for an eBook which had garbled text, for example, and yet still retain that item. If it’s broken, you wouldn’t want to use it. Possessing the file would offer no value to you, the reader.

    Another possible issue with this legislation could be the definition of ‘faulty’ in relation to eBooks.

    Reply

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