The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations came into force in June 2014. They implement legislation for business and the rights of consumers when shopping online.
Buying Goods and Services from a Distance
Businesses need to provide certain information when 'distance selling' any goods or services. As a rule, it applies to sales made by mail order, by text message or phone, or through digital TV.
Extra distance selling regulations also apply if while trading you will be:
Note: Failing to follow the rules means you may get forced to provide the goods or services as agreed. In some cases, the penalty can be paying compensation, receiving an unlimited fine, or a prison sentence.
Before a Customer Places an Order
As a distance seller you would need to provide any potential customers with:
The name, address, and contact details of your business.
A 'fair' description of the goods or the services you are offering.
The amount the customer needs to pay (including any relevant taxes) and how they can make a payment.
Any specific delivery arrangements, including the cost and how long it would take for the goods to arrive.
The minimum length of the sales contract and the billing period.
Any specific conditions for ending rolling contracts or sales contracts without a clear end date.
A method for canceling the order and when the customer would lose their right to cancel it. You should also provide them with a standard cancellation form (if canceling is an option).
The amount and any conditions for deposits or other methods used as financial guarantees.
Information on whether they would need to pay any reasonable costs for using a service after a cancellation.
The cost to use telephone lines or other communication to complete the contract in cases where it would cost more than basic call rates.
Details on what digital content does and what software it works with (where applicable). This may include the language used or the operating system it functions with.
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Note: The information must be intelligible and easy for the customer to understand. As a rule, the format must be one that the customer can save for future reference (e.g. a form, on paper, or in an email).
Customers Right to Cancel
Another regulation of distance selling is informing the customer of their right to cancel. You must let them know they can cancel their order within the first fourteen (14) days of receiving it. Also, the consumer does not need to provide the seller with a reason for the cancellation of an order.
Failing to inform the customer about their right to cancel means they may end the order at any time in the forthcoming twelve (12) months. Telling them about their cancellation rights during this 12 month period means they would then get fourteen (14) days to cancel.