Part Business, part Consumer


Another key definition is the definition of “consumer”. Firstly, a consumer must be an “individual” (that is, a natural person) – the protection does not apply to small businesses or legally incorporated organisations (e.g. companies formed by groups of residents). If a group of consumers contracts for goods, services or digital content, they are not left without protection. For example if one consumer makes all the arrangements for a group to go to the theatre or to go on holiday, depending on the circumstances, each member of the group may be able to enforce their rights or the person who made the arrangements would have to enforce the rights on behalf of the group. The other main restriction on who is a consumer is that a consumer must be acting wholly or mainly outside their trade, business, craft or profession. This means, for example, that a person who works from home one day a week who buys a kettle and uses it on the days when working from home would still be a consumer. Conversely a sole trader that operates from a private dwelling who buys a printer of which 95% of the use is for the purposes of the business, is not likely to be held to be a consumer (and therefore the rights in this Part will not protect that sole trader but they would have to look to other legislation. For example, if the sole trader were buying goods, they would have to look to the SGA for protections about the quality of the goods).