The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 provides a right for a consumer to cancel contracts made without face to face contact with the business providing the goods and/or services (e.g. over the internet or phone). The Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc. Regulations 2008 provides a right for a consumer to cancel contracts which are agreed in their home, place of work or away from business premises.
However, for contracts made after 13th June 2014, a new law will apply called the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013. This piece of legislation seeks to replaces the two old laws and streamline the rules applying to contracts, whether made in store, online, by telephone, door to door or otherwise.
Some interesting changes include:
- The extension of the cancellation (or ‘cooling off’) period for distance and off-premises contracts; generally speaking, the cooling off period has been extended to 14 days.
- The obligation imposed on businesses to provide pre-contract information including details about complaints, after sales service and guarantees, and the level of information to be provided depends on the way in which the contract was made.
- The introduction of ‘digital content’ as being a type of good and/or service to which the Regulations apply. Information must be provided about the functionality and compatibility of hardware or software being purchased.
- A restriction on the level of charges which can be levied for helplines; these can now only be charged for at the basic rate.
- Tightening up of the refund procedure where a consumers does choose to cancel a contract.
Commercial Solicitor Karen Edwards says, “The changes mean that businesses may need to review their sales processes and contract terms to ensure that the new law is being complied with. Failure to comply may mean that a contract cannot be relied on.”
We have offices in the Christchurch, New Milton and the New Forest. Our Commercial team also cover Bournemouth and Poole. For a free initial chat, please call 01202 499255 and Karen or a member of the team will be happy to discuss any questions that you may have.