The introduction of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 includes major changes in the law relating to consumer protection. They now apply to consumer contracts made on-premises (through retail stores), made at a distance (including online sales) and off-premises (e.g. in-home sales).
Firms will need to review their processes and change their paperwork and terms and conditions to ensure they are compliant with the new law. Failure to comply may result in prosecution or a fine. Depending on the type of breach, the contract with the homeowner may also be invalid.
Key changes to the Consumer Contracts Regulations include:
- Consumers must now be given much more information before they sign a contract, about the trader, the goods, the price, any other applicable charges, the terms of the contract, and their cancellation rights in a clear and comprehensive manner.
- Traders will need the active consent of the consumer for all payments – pre-ticked boxes for additional payments, for instance, will no longer be permitted.
- Consumers will not be liable for costs which they have not been told about in advance.
- The cooling-off period for goods and services sold by distance or by off-premises selling will be harmonised across the EU to 14 days from date of delivery of the products, as opposed to the previous seven days from date of contract.
- Where a consumer has a right to cancel a contract, the trader is required to provide the customer with a model cancellation form.
- The cancellation period is extended to, broadly, 12 months if the trader fails to provide certain pre-contract information. The trader could also be liable to a fine of up to £5,000.
Exemptions to Consumer Contracts Regulations
There are some exemptions as regards cancellation rights, one of which is for products “made to the consumer’s specification”, examples include: made-to-measure windows made to a consumer’s specific requirements.
You can find a copy of the legislation on the gov.uk website.
You can read this article in full on TrustMark’s website.
If you need more information please speak to your BDM or call the CCS Head Office on 0845 120 6666.