The UK Rules
Distance Selling

Distance Selling Regulations in UK

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations came into full force in June of 2014.

The rules on distance marketing and selling implement legislation for business as well as 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

Under United Kingdom distance seller regulations you would need to provide any potential customers with:

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.

Note: The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 have some differences for downloads and streaming services.

After a Customer Places an Order

Once a customer places an order through distance selling, the trader must then:

Exceptions to UK Distance Selling Regulations

There are some exemptions or exclusions to the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. United Kingdom distance selling laws do not apply to:

Note: The segment titled 'accepting returns and giving refunds: the law' explains the general rules traders must follow when returning goods and making chargebacks in distance selling from the United Kingdom.


Selling Digital Services Online

Traders who use the Internet to sell products and services must follow online selling regulations. Check extra rules that apply when selling digital services such as downloads and streaming services.

Unfair Contract Terms

There are strict rules on using unfair terms in sales contracts (including consumer and business contracts). They fall under the Unfair Contract Terms Act and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations.

Regulations for Distance Selling from United Kingdom