New consumer protection regulations

Posted: 16th June 2014

CashThe EU Consumer Rights Directive covers all consumer contracts for goods and services and is intended to harmonise and simplify consumer protection rules across EU member states. The Directive is implemented into UK law by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, which apply to contracts concluded on or after 13 June 2014.

The Regulations make particular changes to the rules that apply to distance selling and replace the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work etc. Regulations 2008 (often referred to as the 'Doorstep Selling Regulations').

The Regulations specify:

  • the information which must be given to a consumer before and after making a sale;
  • how that information should be provided;
  • the right for consumers to change their minds when buying at a distance or off-premises;
  • delivery times and passing of risk;
  • a prohibition on any additional payments which appear as a default option; and
  • a prohibition on consumers having to pay more than the basic rate for post-contract customer helplines.

Whilst many of the information provisions are already required by existing legislation and will be familiar to traders, there are some new ones. For example, consumers buying digital content must be given information on what systems or hardware it will work with.

Schedule 1 of the Regulations lists the information that must be provided for on-premises contracts and Schedule 2 lists the information to be provided for distance and off-premises contracts.

Schedule 3 of the Regulations sets out the cancellation form that must be provided by all distance and off-premises sellers covered by the Regulations where cancellation rights exist.

Comprehensive guidance from BIS on the Regulations can be found here.

Traders should familiarise themselves with the legislation. Failure to comply can lead to a significant fine. We can advise you to ensure that your trading practices comply with the law.