New Consumer Rights Regulations

New Consumer Contracts: what do Businesses which provide goods and/or services to consumers away from their premises (especially online retailers/sellers via online auction sites) need to know?

23 December 2013

Businesses which provide goods and/or services to consumers away from their premises, especially online retailers including those who sell via online auction sites, should be aware of the new Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 ('the Regulations') which implement the EU Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU and come into force from 13 June 2014. The Regulations will replace the current Distance and Doorstep Selling Regulations for contracts between a trader and consumer and deal with the supply of digital content for the first time.

Consumer-facing businesses need to be aware of the following:

  • The Regulations will allow consumers to cancel off-premises and distance contracts for goods or services up to 14 days of delivery (for goods) or conclusion of the contract (for services) rather than the seven currently allowed. The cancellation period is extended up to 12 months if a trader does not inform a consumer of this extended right of cancellation.
  • The Regulations will change the current rules regarding refunds and customers will have to return goods (or show evidence of return) in order to receive a refund.
  • The Regulations contain provisions which will regulate the fees charged by traders for the use of certain forms of payment and the cost of telephone calls to consumer helplines.
  • Consumers will have to give their express consent to extra payments on top of the price paid for the goods/services. Traders will no longer be able to rely on pre-ticked boxes, or similar, as proof of a consumer's agreement to extra payments.
  • Under the Regulations, the supply of 'digital content' such as music or video downloads is treated as a separate type of transaction to the supply of goods and services and requires traders to fulfil additional requirements.

For further information please contact our Commercial team.

Key contact

Helen Scott-Lawler

Helen Scott-Lawler Partner

  • Commercial
  • Intellectual Property and Media
  • Sport

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