Minister for Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation Richard Bruton has announced a raft of new consumer rights to be introduced. The new measures have been published in the Consumers Rights Bill.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the draft bill is that it will afford people who buy digital services, such as music from iTunes, the same rights as if they were to buy the music in physical formats.

“A consumer who buys a film on DVD enjoys the protection of consumer legislation while one who streams or downloads the same film does not,” said Minister Bruton.

In addition Minister Bruton plans to place a ban on gift card expiry dates, to introduce a standard 30-day refund period on all faulty goods, to include the right to have substandard services fixed or refunded, and to give people who receive goods as gifts the same rights as thse who bought products themselves.

The bill will now enter a consulation process with affected interest groups. The Minister said that he hopes that they will be able to proceed rapidly with the bill after that, although it won’t pass into law until next year.

“I think we’re opening up consumer rights in a pretty historic way,” said Minister Bruton. “I mean legislation in this field really hasn’t been changed in Ireland since the 1980s and we’re changing and strengthening consumer law across all of the channels through which consumers transact.”

“There is a basic imbalance in contracts between consumers and the people they purchase goods and services from,” added the Fine Gael politician. “That is why we are constantly seeking to improve our laws to provide better rights for people in a changing environment.”

While the Government are busy updating the rights of the consumer Shelfwatch can make improvements to your business through a range of services aimed at helping managers to boost the performance of their stores.