Distance Selling Regulations
Courtesy of the distance selling regulations a website that sells goods or services must provide the following information: Â
1. Contact Details Â
- A name and address (not a Post Office Box)
- An email address (not simply a web form) Â
- VAT number (if applicable) Â
- (If a company) the place of registration, registered office address and registration number Â
- Membership details, including the registration number, of any trade or professional association you belong to.
2. Clarity of Pricing Information and Other ChargesÂ
- Prices should be presented clearly and unambiguously. It should be made clear the full price consumers will have to pay for the product, including tax, delivery and other charges
- Where the final price cannot be specified in advance, (e.g. variable delivery rates) you should indicate clearly that additional charges may apply and how they will be included
- You should provide clear information on payment options, together with details of any relevant surcharges (e.g. credit card surcharges).
3. Delivery Â
- As a general rule you cannot include terms that require your customers to bear the cost of insurance pending deliveryÂ
- The goods should be delivered within 30 days unless you have agreed to a different period with your customer.
4. Cancellation Rights and Returns Â
- Unless cancellation rights under the Distance Selling Regulations (DSRs) do not apply, you must provide clear information on cancellation rights and how customers can cancel and order. Generally consumers have a minimum of seven working days commencing the day following delivery to exercise cancellation rights Â
- If your customer wishes to cancel the order, they must take reasonable care of the product while in their possession
- You may set out what you consider to be reasonable care but you may not impose conditions which prevent your customers from exercising their right reasonably to examine the goods. Typical conditions which may breach consumers’ rights include requirements that goods are returned unopened (except in the case of sealed software or audio/video recordings), “as new” or “in their original packaging”
- If the customer cancels an order under the DSRs, you may not deduct from the refund the costs of outward delivery nor other fees, such as an administration or restocking fee. The refund should be made as quickly as possible and within a maximum of 30 daysÂ
- If you wish to require your customer to return the goods in the event of cancellation and to pay for the cost of doing so, you must make this clear in your terms and conditions and confirm it in writing or another durable medium. Â
Exceptions to the Distance Selling RegulationsÂ
Of course there are always exceptions, the DSRs do not apply to the following: Â
- business to business contracts Â
- contracts for the sale of land, that is the sale of freehold or leasehold interests. They do apply to short term tenancy or leasehold agreements (rental agreements) concluded by distance meansÂ Â
- contracts for the construction of a building where the contract also provides for a sale or other transfer of an interest in the land on which the building is constructed. They do apply where a consumer already has rights over the land and subsequently enters into a distance contract with a builder to construct a building on the land Â
- contracts relating to financial services to consumers. However these services are likely to be subject to the Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004 and, where relevant, the Consumer Credit Act 1974
- conditional sales and contracts for hire purchase. They do apply to contracts for hire services, for example the hire of electrical items or clothing
- contracts concluded with a telecommunications operator in respect of a telephone call from a public pay phone
- auction sales, including online and interactive TV auctions. They do apply to some activities described as auctions depending on exactly when and how the sale occurs.
There are some exceptions to the requirements to provide pre-contractual information, written and additional information, the right to cancel and the obligation on the supplier to carry out the contract within a maximum of 30 days.
These apply to:
- Certain types of contracts for the supply of food, drinks or other goods for everyday consumption delivered to the consumer’s home or work place. In the OFT’s view this does not include home deliveries by supermarkets or other home delivery grocery businesses.
- Certain types of contract to provide accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services (for example hotel accommodation, plane, train or concert tickets, car hire or sporting events) where you agree to provide the service on a specific date or within a specific period. However, long term residential hotel accommodation agreed under a distance contract may be considered to be rented accommodation and therefore subject to the DSRs.