The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (referred to here as the 'Consumer Contract regulations') apply to all contracts for the supply of goods and/or services to consumers. They replace the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and also cover the supply of digital content, i.e. data produced and supplied in digital form.
In addition to these regulations, the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 apply to contracts made electronically. Seefor more information.
Businesses selling to consumers have to comply with the requirements of the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Competent Authorities and Information) Regulations 2015, as amended by the Alternative Dispute Resolution for Consumer Disputes (Amendment) Regulations 2015 (The 'ADR Regulations'). Alternative Dispute Resolution ('ADR') is a means of resolving disputes other than by court proceedings. In a mediation, an independent person gives both sides the opportunity to state their position and tries to help them to find a solution. Adjudication or arbitration involves an independent person hearing both sides of the dispute and making a decision to resolve it.
The ADR Regulations apply to all businesses that provide goods, services or digital content to consumers, except health professionals. They require the trader to provide certain information to the consumer if it is compulsory for the trader to use ADR under
The trader must then tell the consumer the name and web address of the certified ADR body that they have to submit the dispute to. They should provide this information on their website and in the general terms and conditions of their contracts to supply the goods or services.
Also, as of 15 February 2016, an online trader who is obliged to use ADR and who makes an offer to a customer via email, must provide a link to the('ODR') platform in that email. The ODR platform is a way of resolving disputes through online communication. In their general terms and conditions for online contracts, the trader must inform the consumer about the existence of the ODR platform, and that it is available to resolve disputes between the trader and the consumer. On their website, the trader must provide the link to the ODR platform and state their email address.
Where the trader doesn't have an obligation to use ADR, but hasn't been able to resolve a consumer dispute using their own internal complaints procedure, they must give the consumer the details of the certified ADR provider in that sector. They must also tell the consumer whether they intend to use ADR to resolve the dispute. They should provide this information in a letter, email or other durable medium. A durable medium is a medium that allows communication to be addressed personally to the consumer and which the consumer can store and reproduce e.g. by downloading and saving or printing it.
The requirements depend on the contract type. There are 3 types of contract under the Consumer Contract regulations: 'distance contracts', 'off-premises contracts' or 'on-premises contracts'.
'Distance contracts' (also called 'distance selling') are contracts where consumers buy goods or services from businesses without any face-to-face contact. They include sales made via:
Off-premises contracts (previously called 'doorstep selling' contracts) are contracts between a seller and a consumer where they're face to face in a place other than the seller's business premises when the:
On-premises contracts are contracts between a seller and consumer that are not distance contracts or off-premises contracts.
Under the Consumer Contract regulations, a durable medium means one that allows information to be addressed personally to the consumer and allows the consumer to store and access it for future reference in an unchanged form. Examples of a durable medium are paper, email, text message, and a personal account, such as online accounts used by utility companies for billing.
There are a number of exemptions from some or all of the provisions of the Consumer Contract regulations that apply to on-premises, off-premises and distance contracts. Certain types of contracts are totally exempt from the regulations, and other types of contracts are partially exempt, i.e. they may not give a right to cancel but you must still provide the pre-contract information set out in the regulations.
The regulations don't apply to contracts:
Some contracts are only partially covered by the Consumer Contract regulations. These contracts aren't subject to the requirements to provide the pre-contract information. The cancellation rights in the regulations don't apply to them either.
They are contracts:
There is a further list of contracts that must comply with the pre-contract information requirements, but in which the consumer doesn't have cancellation rights.
Cancellation rights don't apply to on-premises contracts.
Cancellation rights don't apply to off-premises and distance contracts for: