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vortex681

New UK Consumer Rights Bill

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The new UK Consumer Rights Bill comes into force today, 1 October 2015. One interesting aspect of the bill is that it covers digital content, including downloads. The bill says:

 

(Quote)

The Consumer Rights Bill sets out what rights and remedies you would have when you pay for digital content. It clarifies that digital content would have to be:

 

Of satisfactory quality,

 

Fit for purpose, and

 

Meet any description.

 

If the digital content didn’t meet these quality rights, you would be entitled to a repair or a replacement of the digital content where practical, or failing that (that is, if the repair or replacement would take an unreasonable amount of time or cannot be done without significantly inconveniencing you), you would be entitled to some money back. You would only be entitled to return the faulty digital content for an immediate refund if the digital content was in a physical item (eg it is on a disk or embedded in goods such as a digital camera).

 

Other digital content rights would allow the trader to update the digital content within the terms of the contract, entitle you to a refund if the trader sold you the digital content without having the right to do so, and entitle you to a repair (if possible) or limited compensation if the trader fails to use reasonable care and skill to prevent the digital content (whether free or paid for) from damaging your device or other digital content.

(End of quote)

 

The bill only applies to content bought on or after 1 October 2015. It's a slightly grey area as to what constitutes digital content - see http://itlaw.wikia.com/wiki/Digital_content for one definition. I'm curious to see if this would affect downloads (of aircraft add-ons, for instance) which had features which were advertised but didn't work correctly. The new version of P3D contains many bug fixes from v2.5. Does this mean that if these bugs are not also fixed in v2.5 you would be entitled to some compensation? Could this potentially prevent the sales of some digital content to UK consumers?

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The new version of P3D contains many bug fixes from v2.5. Does this mean that if these bugs are not also fixed in v2.5 you would be entitled to some compensation? 

 

 

If the bill is effective from 1 October, then how could it be applicable to 2.5 which was sold before 1 October.  LM offers a full money back guarantee, so that negates any need for compensation.  Also not sure if this would apply to companies domiciled outside of the UK.  It's probably only enforceable on companies operating within the UK.

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How do cross-border e-commerce disputes actually work? Do overseas customers have any legal recourse in the country where the servers / company is based?

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If the bill is effective from 1 October, then how could it be applicable to 2.5 which was sold before 1 October.  LM offers a full money back guarantee, so that negates any need for compensation.  Also not sure if this would apply to companies domiciled outside of the UK.  It's probably only enforceable on companies operating within the UK.

 

Prepar3d v2 is still for sale - it's when you buy it, not when it was available. Apparently the bill applies to any goods purchased in the UK, regardless of where the seller is based. However, it has been suggested that trying to enforce the act for smaller overseas retailers would be very difficult, if not impossible - you would probably stand more of a chance with global companies who have an established customer base in the UK.

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Interesting, but probably meaningless.  Litigation today is very expensive.  It is hard to litigate a commercial case today for under $100,000.00, especially if dealing with a big outfit like Lockheed Martin.  Litigating over a piece of software which costs $200.00 simply cannot be done economically.  If you really are unhappy with a product, most developers would probably be content to give you your money back, and would be well advised to do so.  Otherwise, you probably just have to take your lumps.

 

Most courts will apply the law of the jurisdiction where the Court is located.  So, if you live in Illinois, for example, an Illinois court will usually apply Illinois law.  If the Court is in the U.K, then it will apply U.K. law -- most of the time.  The main exception is where the contract states otherwise.

 

However, in many cases, the contract may NOT be with the developer.  For example, if you buy software from a third party vendor, like Simmarket, your contract is with Simmarket and not with the developer.  Which means that the EULA actually may not be a contract or part of the contract-- it is just extraneous and meaningless verbiage.

 

In most cases in the United States, the contract will be governed by the Uniform Commercial Code, which is the law in 49 states.  The Uniform Commercial Code requires perfect tender.  That is, the software must be delivered where and when promised and in the condition promised.  The doctrine of substantial performance does not apply.  The UCC also contains implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.  Additionally, claims made in advertising materials may constitute and express warranty.  The U.K. law does not seem to change these basic principles.

 

Also, if a developer or merchant makes claims which are not true (i.e. fraud or misrepresentation), the whole transaction and contract may be voidable.

 

So, if you have $100,000.00 to spend on litigation, you could litigate all of these issues.  Most people just won't bother.

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