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UK European Consumer Centre

Desk scene with a laptop and notepadBuying Digital Content

Buying digital content brings certain expectations that it will be in a working condition and suitable for their intended use.  Companies have to abide by strict legislation when it comes to these factors 

Consumer Contracts for Digital Content 

Digital content is data which is produced and supplied in a digital form. Data supplied on a physical product such as a dvd or memory stick is classed as a contract for goods.

A contract to supply digital content is covered if:

  • it is supplied to the consumer for a price
  • it is supplied free with goods, services or other digital content.

It is worth noting that the internet service provider or mobile network operator is not supplying digital content when the service they provide is to deliver the digital content. 

Consumers can expect that goods will be in conformity with the core rights: 

Digital content to be of a satisfactory quality 

Digital content should meet the standard that a reasonable person would expect taking into account:

  • any description
  • the price
  • all other relevant circumstances

Satisfactory quality will not apply if:

  • it is drawn to the consumers attention before it is purchased
  • should have been found on examination of the content prior to purchasing
  • would have been realised through a trial of the content prior to purchase

Public statements made by the trader or its representatives can be taken into account when determining if the content is of a satisfactory quality.

Digital content to be fit for a particular purpose 

Digital content must be fit for any purpose which the consumer has made known to the trader prior to purchase.  This applies even when the content is not usually supplied for this purpose

Digital content to be as described 

Digital content must match the description.

Suitable remedies  

Right to repair or replacement 

The consumer has the right to which remedy they ask for in the first instance.  Once this has been determined the trader must:

  • carry this out within a reasonable time and without causing significant inconvenience
  • bear any costs of putting it right to include materials and postage

The consumer is not able to force a repair or replacement if it is impossible for the company.  When considering what is a reasonable time the content and its intended purpose should be taken into account.

If the product becomes faulty within the first 6 months of purchase the product is considered to have been defective since the time of purchase.  The company would have to prove that this is not the case should you make a claim.

Right to price reduction

If the consumer reaches this remedy then they will be entitled to a refund up to the full amount paid.  The amount should be appropriate to the problem.  This remedy can be requested when:

  • a repair or replacement can be requested
  • a repair or replacement has been requested but not performed in a reasonable time.

Once the company agree to refund this should be made in 14 days.

Remedy for damage to device or other digital content 

If the consumer sustains damage to a device or other digital content due to a breach of the core rights of the act the consumer may be in a position to make a claim.  This applies if:

  • a company supplies digital content to a consumer
  • the digital content causes damage to a device or other digital content
  • the device or digital content belongs to the consumer
  • the damage would not been sustained had the trader used reasonable care and skill.

Suitable remedies 

The consumer is able to request a repair of the damage or compensation.  If a repair is requested:

  • it must be done within a reasonable time without causing significant inconvenience
  • the company must bear the cost of materials and postage

When considering what is a reasonable time the content and its intended purpose should be taken into account.  If compensation is agreed it must be paid within 14 days of this.   

Further assistance 

This is intended as a rough guide to your rights - for more specific advice please contact us.