Changes to Distance Selling

On 13 June 2014, the Distance Selling Regulations were replaced by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013:

The key changes to note here are as follows:

-    Consumer is defined as ‘ an individual acting for the purposes which are wholly or mainly outside that individuals trade, business craft or profession.

-    The right to cancel will run from the moment an order is placed, until the 14th day after delivery of the goods.

-    If its a subscription to a service online, where delivery is not required, then the consumer can cancel up to the 14th day.

-    Once a request for cancellation has been received, a refund must be given within 14 days of cancelling the contract, or within 14 days of returning the goods if this is applicable.

-    If a sale is at a distance, or face to face but away from your company premises, then you must make sure you provide the following documents/information to the customer:
  • Description of the goods/services
  • Details of any long term commitment they are signing into as part of the contract
  • The total price and manner in which this has been calculated
  • Any delivery costs that will be charged
  • Details as to a returns policy, and who will pay for the cost of returning an item. Remember if the goods are faulty the consumer cannot be forced to pay for the return of the item.
  • Information regarding their right to cancel and how long they have to do this, and provide a cancellation form for consumers to complete easily.
  • Your company details, geographical address and telephone number.
  • The Company’s complaints handling policy.
-    Failure to provide this information could result in the consumer being allowed the right to reject the goods for up to one year.

-    The information should be on paper, unless some other more suitable format can be justified, such as email.

-    Consumers must be given a written confirmation of the contract.

-    If a sale is being concluded by telephone, the trader must state at the beginning of the call their identity, the Company’s identity and the commercial purpose of the call.

-    Delivery of the goods must be made within 30 days of the order date, and the trader remains responsible for the condition of the goods up to the delivery date. This includes any 3rd party company you may use to transport the goods.  If they damage the goods, it is your responsibility.

-    Traders can make deductions from any refund, if the value of the goods has been reduced by the consumer’s mishandling of the goods.

-    When refunding, this includes the cost of any basic delivery costs incurred as well.

-    If you are providing a service rather than goods, then work should not commence until after the 14 day cancellation period has expired. If the consumer wants work to begin earlier, then they still have the right to cancel, but they will have to pay for any services that have already been provided to them during this period.

-    These regulations will not apply to any items which are custom made, or clearly personalised.

Published: 21 Jul 2014

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