Wake up call: Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000
The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 implement European law and apply to any business selling goods or services to people using any form of distance contracting, - mail order, telephone, television shopping or Internet.
The regulations came into effect on 31 October 2000. They set out the information you must provide to the consumer before an order is placed and before delivery.
The consumer has seven days during which they have a right to cancel the contract, return the goods and demand a full refund.
However, the cooling off period may extend up to three months and seven working days from the date the consumer receives the goods. If you fail to provide the information the consumer is only responsible for taking "reasonable care" of the goods until they are returned. "Reasonable care" is not defined. It is arguable that a consumer is entitled to use the goods before exercising their right to cancel the contract and return them.
Fulfilment must be performed within 30 days. Unless stated, you must refund the purchase price within 30 days from cancellation even if this is before the consumer has returned the goods.
Unless your terms and conditions impose an obligation on the consumer to return the goods if the contract is cancelled, he or she may hold on to the goods until collected. If you fail to collect the goods within 21 days, the consumer's duty of care may expire.
You must provide certain information to consumers in good time and in a clear form before they place an order. While the information will be incorporated into your terms and conditions, it will be best practice to provide it separately in an accessible form appropriate to the medium in question.
The following must be confirmed in writing or other durable medium (such as e-mail) before the contract is concluded or on delivery:
You must also provide in writing to the consumer, before the end of the contract, before delivery of the goods or during the performance of the services:
The following information must be supplied, but need not be in writing:
Simon Jones (0121-262 5702) David Glover (0121-262 5950) are solicitors at DLA
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