The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (summarised)

These Regulations may be cited as the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and shall come into force on 31st October 2000. These Regulations extend to Northern Ireland.

These Regulations apply, subject to regulation 6, to distance contracts other than excepted contracts.

Excepted contracts

The following are excepted contracts, namely any contract -

  • For the sale or other disposition of an interest in land except for a rental agreement;
  • For the construction of a building where the contract also provides for a sale or other disposition of an interest in land on which the building is constructed, except for a rental agreement;
  • Relating to financial services, a non-exhaustive list of which is contained in Schedule 2;
  • Concluded by means of an automated vending machine or automated commercial premises;
  • Concluded with a telecommunications operator through the use of a public pay-phone;
  • Concluded at an auction.

Information required prior to the conclusion of the contract in good time prior to the conclusion of the contract the supplier shall provide to the consumer the following information:

  • (i) the identity of the supplier and, where the contract requires payment in advance, the supplier's address;
  • (ii) a description of the main characteristics of the goods or services;
  • (iii) the price of the goods or services including all taxes;
  • (iv) delivery costs where appropriate;
  • (v) the arrangements for payment, delivery or performance;
  • (vi) the existence of a right of cancellation except in the cases referred to in regulation 13;
  • (vii) the cost of using the means of distance communication where it is calculated other than at the basic rate;
  • (viii) the period for which the offer or the price remains valid; and
  • (ix) where appropriate, the minimum duration of the contract, in the case of contracts for the supply of goods or services to be performed permanently or recurrently;
  • (x) inform the consumer if he proposes, in the event of the goods or services ordered by the consumer being unavailable, to provide substitute goods or services (as the case may be) of equivalent quality and price; and
  • (xi) inform the consumer that the cost of returning any such substitute goods to the supplier in the event of cancellation by the consumer would be met by the supplier.
  • (xii) The supplier shall ensure that the information required by paragraph (1) is provided in a clear and comprehensible manner appropriate to the means of distance communication used, with due regard in particular to the principles of good faith in commercial transactions and the principles governing the protection of those who are unable to give their consent such as minors.
  • (xiii) In the case of a telephone communication, the identity of the supplier and the commercial purpose of the call shall be made clear at the beginning of the conversation with the consumer.
  • (xiv) information as to whether the consumer or the supplier would be responsible under these Regulations for the cost of returning any goods to the supplier, or the cost of his recovering them, if the consumer cancels the contract under regulation 10;
  • (xv) the geographical address of the place of business of the supplier to which the consumer may address any complaints;
  • (xvi) information about any after-sales services and guarantees; and
  • (xvii) the conditions for exercising any contractual right to cancel the contract, where the contract is of an unspecified duration or a duration exceeding one year.
  • (xviii) the supplier shall inform the consumer in writing or in another durable medium which is available and accessible to the consumer that, unless the parties agree otherwise, he will not be able to cancel the contract under regulation 10 once the performance of the services has begun with his agreement.
  • (xix) the supplier shall take all necessary steps to ensure that a consumer who is a party to a contract is able to obtain the supplier's geographical address and the place of business to which the consumer may address any complaints.
  • (xx) Right to cancel A notice of cancellation given under this regulation by a consumer to a supplier or other person is to be treated as having been properly given if the consumer - (a) leaves it at the address last known to the consumer and addressed to the supplier or other person by name; (b) sends it by post to the address last known to the consumer and addressed to the supplier or other person by name (c) sends it by facsimile to the business facsimile number last known to the consumer (d) sends it by electronic mail, to the business electronic mail address last known to the consumer

Cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of goods The cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of goods begins with the day on which the contract is concluded Where the supplier complies with the regulations, the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods. Cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of services The cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of services begins with the day on which the contract is concluded. The cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the contract is concluded. Exceptions to the right to cancel. Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer will not have the right to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation in respect of contracts –

  • (a) for the supply of services if the supplier has complied with regulation 8(3) and performance of the contract has begun with the consumer's agreement before the end of the cancellation period;
  • (b) for the supply of goods or services the price of which is dependent on fluctuations in the financial market which cannot be controlled by the supplier;
  • (c) for the supply of goods made to the consumer's specifications or clearly personalised or which by reason of their nature cannot be returned or are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly;
  • (d) for the supply of audio or video recordings or computer software if they are unsealed by the consumer;
  • (e) for the supply of newspapers, periodicals or magazines; or
  • (f) for gaming, betting or lottery services.