New laws effective June 2014 for selling to consumers

If you’re a trader that sells goods, services or digital content to consumers then it’s important you become aware of the new changes to legislation, which came into force in June.

Businesses which sell to consumers, whether in store, online, by telephone or by any other means will need to review and update their sales processes, terms of business and cancellation and refund policies to ensure compliance.  A failure to comply may result in contracts being unenforceable and, in the worst case scenario, the trader may face a criminal conviction and fine.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 new rules affect:

  • Information to be given to customers
  • The cancellation rights which your customer will be entitled to
  • Charges for any post-contract customer phone-lines you offer
  • The express consent needed before you can charge for something

Many of the information provisions are already required by existing legislation and will be familiar to traders, but a small number are new. There is a new category of “digital content” with its own specific requirements that apply to both paid for and free content such as music and film downloads. For example, information, when buying digital content, on what systems or hardware it will work with.

For more information on the specific requirements, check out GOV.UK or contact the GOV.UK Business Support Helpline.


Source: HM Revenue & Customs, 20 May 2014

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