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What The New Consumer Contracts Regulations Mean For You

Posted on Wednesday 11th June 2014 by Mark Howell

You have only to look at the budget airlines’ websites to see how regulations can make a positive difference.Mark Howell - Solicitor, Coles Miller

No longer are their headline offers a wild stab in the dark. The price they advertise now resembles the price you pay.

And now companies can look forward to the next tranche of new rules – the Consumer Contracts Regulations which come into force on Friday (June 13 2014).

Don’t let the unfortunate Friday the 13th date put you off. There is much in these new regulations which is good common sense business practice for firms selling online.

Traders must:

  • ask the permission of consumers before taking additional payments
  • make it clear when an action online will trigger the need for payment
  • deliver goods within 30 days – or make it clear why this is not possible.

Excessive payment surcharges also get a mention in the new rules – but these have already been illegal since April 2014 under the Payment Surcharges Regulations.

Another of the new rules relates to post-contractual telephone support. Traders who provide a support phone number must charge calls at the basic rate. The number must be as prominently advertised as others where a premium is charged.

Traders who conclude distance or off-premises contracts with customers should also be aware that:

  • the cooling off period has been extended to 14 days
  • a model cancellation form must be provided to the customer
  • for as long as a trader fails to comply with the regulations and subject to a limit of one year, his customer will retain the right to cancel.

It’s not all one-way traffic though – the Consumer Contracts Regulations do give companies some rights too.

Consumers who cancel a contract must return the goods to you within 14 days. If they fail to do so you can withhold the refund.

And if the value of those goods has diminished, you can deduct some of the money from the refund.

For more expert advice on the Consumer Contracts Regulations, contact Coles Miller commercial solicitor Mark Howell, 01202 338896.

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