UK consumers now entitled to full refunds for faulty digital goods

Consumer Rights Act

The Consumer Rights Act comes into force today. It marks the first time that rights on digital content have been set out in UK legislation – and stipulates that buyers be allowed a full refund on goods that turn out to be faulty.

Before now, consumers were entitled to refunds for a (rather vague) “reasonable time”. The law was even less clear on the subject of digital content – but now offers a clear right to repair or replacement if what you’re buying doesn’t work properly.

If a repair of replacement is impossible, the buyer can ask for a refund – which must arrive within 14 days of the retailer’s acknowledgement of the claim.

The Act states that goods must be of satisfactory quality, based on what a reasonable person would expect, taking into account the price. They must be fit for purpose, and meet the expectations of the consumer.

What’s more, on the off chance a download leaves your PC with a virus, the provider could be liable to pay compensation for getting it removed.

There’s still no statuatory right to request refunds for reasons other than faultiness – but of course, lots of retailers offer them anyway.Steam refundscan be requested for any game you’ve played less than two hours of within 14 days of purchase, andOrigin refundscan apply up to a week after you’ve bought an EA game (or 24 hours, if you’ve already booted it up).

It’s worth noting that historically Steam have resisted consumer rights pushes rather than change their policies. German consumer group VZBV filed a lawsuit at Berlin’s district court two years ago alleging that Steam users’ inability to resell unwanted games clashed with copyright law. But Valve resisted, and a judge ruled that the laws, which concerned second-hand goods like DVDs, didn’t apply in the digital realm.

Can you see yourself making use of a refund for faulty games?