What Are My Rights Under Consumer Contracts Regulations?

Mariam Abu HusseinLegal Assessment Specialist @ Lawhive
Updated on 16th May 2024

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 protect consumers who buy goods or services online.

These regulations outline the rights and protections afforded to consumers in these transactions and are designed to protect consumers in online transactions.

In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about the Consumer Contracts Regulations, how they apply to you, and how you can enforce your rights.

Table of Contents

What rights do I have under Consumer Contracts Regulations?

Under Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have various rights, including the right to cancel your order within a specific period, usually 14 days, without providing a reason. You're entitled to a full refund, including any standard delivery charges you paid, within 14 days of cancelling your order.

Companies also can't charge you for items placed in your online shopping basket or bought as a result of a pre-ticked box. You should not be charged for any items unless you explicitly select them during checkout.

Consumer Contracts Regulations also prohibit helpline phone charges that exceed the basic rate for calls made by existing customers to the retailer or trader about purchased products.

So, if you have to call a company on a surcharged number regarding goods or services you've bought or agreed to buy, you have the right to claim back the surcharge from the company.

Do Consumer Contracts Regulations apply to all purchases?

Consumer Contracts Regulations generally apply to most purchases made online, over the phone, or by mail order. However, there are exceptions, such as personalised or custom-made items, perishable goods, and digital content that's been downloaded or streamed.

How long do I have to cancel my order under Consumer Contracts Regulations?

You typically have a cooling-off period of 14 days to cancel your order under Consumer Contracts Regulations. This period starts from the day you receive the goods or, for services, from the day the contract is made.

Do I have to return the item if I cancel my order?

If you cancel your order under Consumer Contracts Regulations, you're normally required to return the item to the seller. You must do so within 14 days of cancelling your order unless the seller agrees to collect the item themselves.

Can I cancel services under Consumer Contracts Regulations?

You have the right to cancel a service contract within 14 days of entering into the contract unless the service has already begun with your agreement.

While 14 days is the minimum cancellation period required, many sellers offer longer cancellation periods, so you should check the terms and conditions to see if you have a longer period should you change your mind after 14 days.

Are there any exemptions to the right to cancel a service?

There are some contracts where you won’t have the right to cancel a service, such as hotel bookings, flights, car hire, concert tickets, or urgent repairs or maintenance.

What if the goods are faulty or not as described?

If the goods are faulty, not as described, or not fit for purpose, you have additional rights under consumer law, separate from Consumer Contracts Regulations.

In such cases, you may be entitled to a repair, replacement, or refund, depending on the circumstances.

How do I exercise my rights under Consumer Contracts Regulations?

To exercise your rights under Consumer Contracts Regulations, you should notify the seller of your decision to cancel the order within the specified timeframe. You can usually do this by contacting the seller in writing, by email, or through their website.

Are there any exceptions to the right to cancel?

Yes, there are exceptions to the right to cancel under Consumer Contracts Regulations, such as contracts for personalised or custom-made goods, sealed audio or video recordings or software that's been unsealed, and goods liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly.

What information should a business provide when I make a purchase?

When you buy something remotely, like online, over the phone, or in person somewhere that isn't the seller's usual place of business, the seller must give you:

  • A description of what you're buying, including how long any commitment lasts.

  • The total price, or how it will be calculated if it can't be determined upfront.

  • How and when you pay, along with any extra charges like delivery fees.

  • Who pays for return shipping if you want to cancel your order.

  • Information about your right to cancel, including a standard form to make cancelling easy.

  • Details about the seller, including their address and contact info.

  • Compatibility info for digital products.

The info should be given in writing, like on paper or in an email. Or, if you're buying over the phone, they should tell you verbally.

For in-store purchases, the seller doesn't have to give as much info, but they still need to provide certain details about what you're buying, the price, digital content compatibility, and any delivery costs.

If a seller doesn't provide this information correctly, you might have up to a year to cancel your purchase.

What are my rights regarding delivery?

The Consumer Rights Act places responsibility on the retailer for the condition of the goods until they are received by you or someone you've nominated. They are also accountable for the services provided by the couriers they employ.

If the delivery is later than agreed and it needed to be on time, you have the right to cancel the purchase and receive a full refund.

Even if the delivery isn’t time-critical, if another reasonable delivery time can't be agreed upon, you can cancel the order for a full refund.

What if the seller refuses to honour my rights under Consumer Contracts Regulations?

If the seller refuses to honour your rights under Consumer Contracts Regulations, you can seek assistance from consumer protection authorities or consider taking legal action to enforce your rights. If you are considering the latter, speak to a litigation solicitor in the first instance to find out if you have a case.

When can I expect to receive a refund?

You should get a refund within 14 days of either the trader receiving the goods back or you providing evidence of having returned the goods, whichever happens first.

If the trader has agreed to collect the goods, they should refund you within 14 days from when you told them you wanted to cancel the contract. This means you don't have to wait for them to collect the goods to get your refund.

Can the trader make deductions from my refund?

A deduction can be made if the value of the goods has been reduced because of handling them more than necessary. That is if they have been handled more than you would if you were looking at them in a shop.

Will I get a refund for the delivery cost?

The trader is required to refund the basic delivery cost of getting the goods to you. However, if you paid for a faster or premium delivery service, the trader still only has to refund the basic delivery cost, not the additional cost of the enhanced service.

How can we help?

At Lawhive, our network of litigation lawyers is on hand to help consumers with consumer credit disputes and small claims.

If you are in a dispute or looking to make a claim, the first step is to understand if you have a case and if pursuing legal action would be best for you.

To find out more, contact our Legal Assessment Specialists today. They can provide you with a free case evaluation and a fixed-fee quote for the services of a specialist lawyer should you wish to move forward with a claim.

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