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Consumer Rights Act 2015
As your fuel supply is provided under a contract with the supplier, the law relating to contracts, including regulations covering unfair terms, applies.
The relevant law is found in the Consumer Rights Act 20151As amended by Part 7 The Consumer Protection (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 No.1326 and in decisions by the higher courts. The Act supersedes much of the earlier law2s75 and Sch 4 para 34 CRA 2015 but decisions under previous regulations and caselaw continue to be relevant.
An unfair term of a consumer contract is not binding on you.3s62(1) CRA 2015 A term qualifies as ‘unfair if, contrary to the requirement of good faith, it causes a significant imbalance in the parties’ rights and obligations which operate to the detriment of the consumer’.4s62(4) CRA 2015 Whether or not a term is unfair is determined by looking at the nature of the contract and all the circumstances existing when the term was agreed, together with all the other terms of the contract.5s62(5) CRA 2015
Rights and remedies under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 are available to individuals (but not small business or companies). Gas and electricity are treated as ‘goods’ under the Act if supplied and sold in limited volumes or set quantities.6Tamarind and Others v Eastern Natural Gas and Eastern Energy [2000] QBD 27
Transparency – that contract terms can be readily understood – is fundamental to fairness. Written terms of a consumer contract, and any written notices to consumers, must be transparent.7s68 CRA 2015 They must be expressed in plain and intelligible language and be legible. This specific requirement operates alongside the requirement of good faith and open and fair dealing (see here). All obligations and rights should be set out fully, and in a way that can be understood by the average consumer so s/he may understand their practical significance.
If a term could have different meanings, the term which is most favourable to you is taken.
Enforcement action for unfair terms may be taken by one of a number of bodies in the UK including the Competition and Markets Authority, the Secretary of State, a district council in England and Ofgem.8Sch 5 CRA 2015
Examples of terms which may be considered unfair9Sch 2 CRA 2015
Terms limiting or excluding legal liability for death or personal injury as a result of an act or omission.
Terms which exclude, or limit, your legal rights in relation to the supplier or another party in the event of total or partial non-performance or inadequate performance by the supplier of any of the contractual obligations.
Any terms limiting the option of offsetting a debt owed to a supplier against any claim which you may have against the supplier.
Terms which allow the supplier to retain money you have paid where you decide not to finish the contract, but do not allow you to receive compensation or a refund where the supplier is the party cancelling the contract.
A term that requires you to pay a disproportionately high sum or penalty clause if you decide to opt out of an agreement.
Clauses which seek to limit when you can begin legal proceedings.
Disproportionate penalties and compensation which may be payable if you end the contract.
Provisions that may allow a supplier to unilaterally dissolve or alter a contract without notice or where no such right is given to you.
Clauses which you do not know about when the contract is formed.
Causes allowing the supplier to increase the prices without giving you the right to cancel the contract if the final price is too high in relation to the price agreed.
1     As amended by Part 7 The Consumer Protection (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 No.1326 »
2     s75 and Sch 4 para 34 CRA 2015 »
3     s62(1) CRA 2015 »
4     s62(4) CRA 2015 »
5     s62(5) CRA 2015 »
6     Tamarind and Others v Eastern Natural Gas and Eastern Energy [2000] QBD 27 »
7     s68 CRA 2015 »
8     Sch 5 CRA 2015 »
9     Sch 2 CRA 2015 »