New Distance Selling & Doorstep Selling Regs
On 13th June 2014 the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 came into force, providing enhanced levels of consumer protection in distance sales and off-premises sales (often taking the form of “doorstep sales”) contracts.
The Regulations impose new requirements on traders including those relating to pre-contract information that must be provided to consumers, a longer cancellation or “cooling-off” period, new rules on refunds, restrictions on the imposition of additional charges, rules on the confirmation of contracts, restrictions on premium rate (e.g. 0845, 0870) customer service helpline charges, and other rules designed to increase the protection of consumers.
The penalties for non-compliance vary from one provision to another but any and all of them represent a strong deterrent. Failure to comply with the Regulations can result in the following:
• Contracts being unenforceable;
• Customers not being liable for delivery charges (where, for example, they have not been made clear in advance);
• The cancellation or cooling-off period being extended from the normal 14 days to up to 12 months (if the customer is not given the proper information about their right to cancel); and
• Being required to reimburse customers for call charges incurred when calling premium rate customer service lines.
Templates and Guidance for Compliance
Over the past two months, we at Simply-Docs have been busy updating our document templates for compliance with the Consumer Contracts Regulations and the following portfolios are now fully up-to-date:
E-Commerce Website Terms and Conditions
Doorstep Sales Terms and Conditions
Professional and Trade Terms and Conditions
We have also created a range of new information pages designed to provide essential knowledge and guidance on the Regulations:
Changes to Distance Selling Regulations
Changes to Doorstep Selling Regulations
Changes to Doorstep Selling Rules for Estate Agents
Practical Implications of Changes to Distance and Doorstep Selling Regulations Terms & Conditions Updates
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 represent a major change in the rules governing the relationships between businesses and consumers and in some instances we recognise that this will be somewhat burdensome. Nevertheless, there is no time like the present to take stock of the impact and to implement the necessary changes in your business!
The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.