Problems with digital content / services
You are protected under consumer law when a business does not meet their legal obligations to you. This page covers your rights when you have a problem with digital content or a digital service.
If your issue is about other services, you can read more about problems with services.
What a business must do
A business has to resolve issues where the digital content/service does not work as set out in your contract. They should do this:
- at no cost to you
- within a reasonable time
- without significant inconvenience to you
While you have strong consumer rights, they do not apply in certain circumstances. For example, if you did not install a digital update within a reasonable time.
You should act quickly and tell a business when you find a problem. Under the Statute of Limitations, you have 6 years to take your case against a business. Generally, the 6 years start from when:
- the business supplies a once off digital content/service to you
- you have a problem with a service that is supplied on a continuous basis
If you have a dispute with a business during the first year of using their digital content/service, they have to show they provided the digital content/service to you in accordance with the contract. You should work with the business to make sure the issue is not due to your digital environment. For example, internet speed, browser etc.
Actions you can take
You can end the contract and get a refund if the business did not supply the digital content/service or they did not supply the digital content/service on either the agreed or rearranged delivery date.
If the service issue is serious you can ask the business for a refund or price reduction. You can also do this if you have problems getting your issue resolved. For instance:
- the business did not or cannot supply what you ordered
- the business cannot resolve the issue within a reasonable time
- the business cannot resolve the issue without serious inconvenience to you
- the same/different issue happens again despite the business trying to resolve it
- the business says it is too expensive to resolve your issue
- you do not have confidence that the business can resolve your issue
You must inform the business in writing that you are cancelling your order. You should:
- return any goods or items the business provided to you, at their expense and without delay
- not use the digital content/service you are cancelling
The business must:
- provide a refund for the time they did not provide the digital content/service that was agreed
- send you the amount that is due within 14 days
- use the same payment method you used to buy the digital content/service, unless you agree otherwise
- cancel any secondary service you ordered with the main digital content/service – for example, you have a streaming service and you also order high definition streaming as a separate order
You should inform the business in writing that you want a price reduction. Both you and the business should agree what an appropriate reduction is. Consumer law says that the price reduction will be the difference between the price you agreed and the reduced value of the digital content/service due to the issue. It should cover the time that the digital content/service did not match your contract.
If you’ve paid up front, the business has to refund you the difference in price due to the issue. They should:
- send you the refund within 14 days
- use the same method of payment you used to buy the digital content/service, unless you agree otherwise
- not charge you any extra fees
If you have not fully paid for the digital content/service, you can consider withholding payments that are due to the business until they resolve your issue. The amount you withhold must match the reduction in value of the digital content/service due to the issue.
You should always explain your issue to the business first and ask that they respond to you. You must then tell the business in writing that you want to use your right to withhold payment. You should fully consider their reply before you withhold a payment.
How to resolve an issue with a business
Know your rights
When you have a problem with digital content/service you should contact the business and explain what the issue is. Most problems can be sorted out quickly and simply with the business.
You should know your rights and if they cover your issue. You can do this by looking at the legal obligations of a business. The Consumer Rights Act 2022 requires that the digital content/service:
- works how the business said it would
- matches what is outlined in your contract
- is the most up to date version, unless you agree otherwise
- has all the necessary accessories and instructions
- matches any advertisement, information or trial version you saw
- is installed correctly by the business or has instructions for you to install it
- is supported by digital and security updates that are sent by the business
If a business has not met their legal obligations to you they have to fix the issue. The Consumer Rights Act 2022 outlines the actions you can take to fix the problem. The key actions you can choose are:
- to cancel your order and receive a refund
- to keep the digital content/service at a lower price that reflects its reduced value due to the issue
When you exercise your consumer rights you should always do it in writing. You should also make sure you keep a record of all your dealings with a business.
Other actions you can take
If a business does not fix your issue as set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2022, you can take other actions. You should always send a final formal written complaint to the business and consider their response before you take your next steps.
In certain sectors, regulators or independent bodies may be able to help you to resolve your issue or provide you with more information. You may also want to consider taking a legal action against a business. Read more on how to complain.
Last updated on 16 November 2023