Legal Article - Business Law

Distance Selling - Used Car Sales



As more and more business is generated through dealer websites, ‘distance selling’ remains a hot topic on our legal telephone advice line.

As a reminder The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 were superseded by The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 which came into force, not in 2013, but June 2014. This means that any contract entered into from June 2014 is subject to the new Regulations.

In the new regulations, the definition of a distance contract is stated as follows:

“distance contract means a contract concluded between a trader and a consumer under an organised distance sales or service-provision scheme without the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, with the exclusive use of one or more means of distance communication up to and including the time at which the contract is concluded”

I have highlighted and italicised part of the above deliberately as the inclusion of the bold part changes the entire definition. If the law makers had not added the part in bold, dealers would be legally discouraged from taking deposits over the phone and delivering vehicles to a customer’s home as any sale whereby the customer had not visited the showroom would become a distance contract subject to the normal 14 day cancellation rights. However, the inclusion of the bold part leaves it open to dealers to assist customers in this way as a one-off. Quite how many one-offs it will take over what period to add up to an ‘organised distance sales scheme’ is yet untested so dealers need to bear that in mind but for now, if your main business is showroom based, helping the occasional customer by taking a deposit over the phone and delivering a vehicle to them, should not require you to provide all the distance contract information and cancellation rights.

Members have access to our Distance Sales Scheme Statement wording which they can add to their website so it is clear to consumers that they do not operate an organised distance sales scheme.

Distance Sales Checklist - Car Sales

Distance Sales Checklist - Car Sales

If you are selling cars under “an organised distance sales scheme” you need to consider this checklist.

NB - it has not yet been established in law what constitutes “an organised distance sales scheme” under these 2013 Regulations and so if you are selling vehicles over the phone or internet without meeting your customer face to face prior to taking a deposit, please call us for advice.

All the information in our Distance Sales Checklist must legally be made clearly available to the consumer BEFORE the customer is bound to make the purchase.

Download our Distance Sales Checklist for Car Sales

Off Premises Sales Checklist - Car Sales

Off Premises Sales Checklist - Car Sales

If you are selling cars away from your normal business premises, any sale is likely to be an off-premises sale for which you need to consider this checklist. NB - this area of law is complex and so please check with the Legal Team if you are making sales from anywhere other than your permanent physical business premises.

All the information in our Off Premises Sales Checklist must legally be made clear to the consumer BEFORE the customer is bound to make the purchase. All are required by law but failure to comply with the cancellation requirements (marked with an *) can lead to a fine and criminal conviction.

Download our Off Premises Sales Checklist

On Premises Sales Checklist - Car Sales

On Premises Sales Checklist - Car Sales

This checklist applies to all sales from your permanent business premises i.e. your showroom, forecourt or garage. It also applies to any sales at any ‘moveable premises where you trade on a usual basis’ - this possibly includes trade fairs although it could be argued that trade fairs come under the rules for ‘off premises’ sales and so please discuss with us if you are unsure.

All the information in our On Premises Sales Checklist must legally be made clearly available to the consumer BEFORE the customer is bound to make the purchase.

Download our On Premises Sales Checklist


Author: Nona Bowkis

Published: 16 Mar 2011

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