13th June 2014 saw changes to Consumer Contract Regulations when the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 come into force. These new regulations govern the pre-contractual requirements of certain consumer contracts, including provisions focused on cost and cancellation rights. They also provide complete implementation of the Consumer Rights Directive, this not only gives consumers more clarity about their rights when buying and selling in Europe, but allows for them to be confident within doing so.
Some of the key changes that the regulations make are listed below:
- Calls to consumer helplines must be charged at the basic rate, rather than any premium charge rate
- Goods must be delivered within 30 days unless it is agreed otherwise with the consumer
- There must be express consent from the consumer before any additional payments are taken
- It must be made clear to a consumer where a particular action online will trigger an obligation to pay
These regulations apply to all consumer contracts which are concluded on or after 13th June 2014 whether they are on premises contracts, off premises contracts or distance contracts.
Perhaps the most pressing part of these regulations are those contracts that are concluded at distance or off premises. With regards to these contracts, the new regulations have extended the statutory cancellation period or the ‘cooling off’ period to 14 days. They have also introduced new rules on cancellation where it concerns the supply of digital content that is not tangible. Digital content is a new category of service introduced by the new regulations and it covers software downloads, downloads and streaming of online games, music, films, apps and in-app purchases across all platforms.
Despite the regulations applying to many consumer contracts, there are those that some or all of the rules do not apply to for example, residential lettings and package travel. It is important that there is full compliance with these regulations where necessary, as failure to comply may result in contracts becoming unenforceable and could even result in criminal conviction.
Josiah Hincks Solicitors in Leicester can help you and your business with any consumer law issues. We can assist businesses being sued by consumers for breach of the consumer regulations. We can also ensure that your terms and conditions and contracts are compliant with the new consumer rights regulations. For consumers, we can help you bring claims against businesses which have failed in their duties under consumer law.