When you shop online, you have rights thanks to the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which came into effect on June 13, 2014 and implement the Consumer Rights Directive. These regulations ensure that you are protected in the event that something goes wrong with your purchase.
Consumer Contracts Regulations

Details on what you can anticipate receiving

You are required to receive certain information from merchants in accordance with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation, and Additional Charges Regulations 2013).

The regulations became effective on June 13, 2014, and they are applicable to any and all contracts that were signed on or after that date.

These Regulations will not apply to any contracts that were signed before June 13, 2014, so if you have one of those contracts, you can disregard them. Please see our guide for more information regarding the Distance Selling Regulations, which covers the time period before June 13, 2014.

The specific information varies depending on whether the sale is made at a distance (for example, online or over the phone), face-to-face somewhere that is not the business premises of the trader (also known as “off-premises”), or in a store. For example, if the sale is made online, then the specific information will be different than if the sale was made in a store.

For sales made remotely or away from the storefront

The following are examples of essential details that the trader is required to provide:

a description of the product, service, or digital content, including the length of time any commitment on the part of the consumer will last; the total price of the product, service, or digital content; or the method by which the price will be calculated if this can’t be determined in advance; and a price calculator.
how you will pay for the goods or services and when you will receive them all additional delivery charges and other costs (and if these charges can’t be calculated in advance, the fact that they may be payable) when you will receive the goods or services when they will be provided to you how you will pay for the goods or services and when they will be provided to you
information regarding who is responsible for paying the cost of returning items in the event that you exercise your right to cancel and change your mind information regarding any right to cancel – To further facilitate the cancellation process, the vendor is required to either provide or make readily available a standard cancellation form; however, you are in no way required to make use of this form.
information about the seller, including their geographical address and contact details, as well as the address and identity of any other trader for whom the trader is acting information about the compatibility of digital content with hardware and other software that the trader is aware of information about the compatibility of digital content with hardware and other software that the trader is aware of information about the seller’s identity and the address and identity of any other (or can reasonably be expected to be aware of).
Contracts with customers

According to Adrian Schwab, a lawyer for Which? Legal, the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 does ensure that a consumer has greater statutory rights when generally making a purchase either on-line or over the telephone, as opposed to making a purchase while in the process of shopping in a store or other place of business. This is the case because it ensures that a consumer has greater statutory rights when generally making a purchase either on-line or over the telephone

This is because there is a “cooling-off” period of 14 days for the consumer to change their mind (there are some exceptions to this rule, such as personalised goods, transport services, hotels, health products, etc.), due to the fact that the contact was made “at a distance,” and as a result, the goods may be returned for a refund of the purchase price. Personalized goods, transport services, hotels, and health products are also not subject to this rule.

Nevertheless, particularly when making purchases online, the customer needs to check and make certain that the website they are using is based in the UK ( the consumer should not presume a “.co.uk” domain means the website is UK based). In the event that the website in question is not based in the UK, the consumer may find it necessary to investigate whether or not the consumer contract is governed by laws in the UK or elsewhere. This information should be included in the terms and conditions that are published on the website; however, if it is unclear or ambiguous, the consumer should proceed with extreme caution before making any purchase.

In the event that it is determined that the relevant website is governed by a foreign legal system, and in the event that a dispute arises, the consumer may then only have the option of submitting a Section 75 claim with their credit card provider or requesting a “Chargeback” from their bank. This is due to the fact that UK courts may not have the jurisdiction to hear any disputed cases in the event that it is determined that the relevant website is governed by a foreign legal system.

The dissemination of essential information

In the event that the required information is not provided, or the information is not provided in the manner that is specified in the regulations, the cancellation rights may be extended by up to a year.

It is recommended that the information be provided in writing on a “durable medium” such as paper or via email.

You also have the option of providing it in a manner that is suitable to the means of communication, such as verbally if the contract is made over the phone.

You also have the right to get confirmation of the contract, and if the information wasn’t initially provided in a form that could be kept, the trader is obligated to give it to you when you get confirmation of the contract.

On-premises sales

In this particular situation, the trader is required to provide less information than usual, but it is still required to provide certain information.

For instance, information regarding the products or services that are being purchased, the price, the compatibility of digital content, and specifics regarding any costs associated with delivery.

KEY INFORMATION

In accordance with the Consumer Contracts Regulations, what exactly are my rights?
Your right to cancel an order for goods made at a distance begins the moment you place your order and continues for a period of 14 days after the day you receive your goods. This right begins when you place your order.
Your right to cancel a contract for a service that was performed remotely begins the moment you enter into the contract and continues for a period of 14 days.
You are required to agree to waive your right to cancel if you want to download digital content while you are still within the initial 14-day cancellation period.
It is against the law for businesses to charge you for products that they have placed in your virtual shopping basket or for products that you have purchased as a result of a pre-checked box.

putting a stop to the purchase of goods and services

When you enter into contracts at a distance, such as over the phone, online, from a catalogue, or even face to face with someone who has visited your home, for example, the Consumer Contracts Regulations also give you key cancellation rights.

These rights to cancel are more generous than those you would have if you purchased the goods or services from a traditional retail store. Read our explanation of the Consumer Rights Act to learn more about the protections afforded to you whenever you make a purchase from a store located on a high street.

Your right to withdraw your consent

The period of time during which you have the legal right to cancel an order for goods that you have placed begins the moment you place that order and continues for a further 14 days after the day on which you receive those goods.

When you receive the final item in a batch of multiple items that make up your order, the beginning of the 14-day period will begin.

You have this initial period of 14 days to make a decision about whether or not to cancel the order, and then you have another period of 14 days to actually return the goods.

Your entitlement to a cash refund

The sooner the trader receives the goods back or the sooner you provide evidence that you have returned the goods (such as a proof of postage receipt from the post office), you should be entitled to a refund within 14 days of either of these events taking place. If the trader receives the goods back first, you should be entitled to the refund.

If the retailer has offered to collect the items, it has 14 days from the date you informed it that you wanted to cancel the contract to issue a refund to you, even if you cancelled the contract. Therefore, this indicates that you do not need to wait for the retailer to have collected the goods before you can receive your refund.

You may be eligible for a deduction if the value of the goods has been diminished as a direct result of your handling of the goods in excess of what was required.

You have the same level of access to the products that you would have if you were evaluating them in a store, meaning that you can handle them freely.

Providing a refund for the price of delivery

The retailer is required to reimburse you for the standard delivery cost associated with getting the goods to you in the first place. However, if you opted for an enhanced service, such as guaranteed next day delivery, the retailer is only required to reimburse you for the standard cost.

Exemptions

Under certain conditions, the Consumer Contracts Regulations will not permit you to exercise your right to cancel the contract.

These include perishable items, CDs, DVDs, or software whose packaging has had its seal broken, and items that have been customised or personalised specifically for the customer.

They also include products that have a seal that has been broken, which was placed there for reasons of health protection and hygiene.

Goods that have been inextricably combined with other items after delivery are also included in this definition.

Always make sure you’re familiar with the terms and conditions.

Because many sellers choose to offer a longer cancellation period than the legally required minimum of 14 days, you should always check the terms and conditions just in case you have more time to change your mind about an order.

Putting an end to services

Your right to withdraw your consent

When you sign a contract for service, you have 14 calendar days to decide whether or not to cancel the agreement.

Unless you have specifically requested it, the vendor is not permitted to begin providing the service until the cancellation period of 14 days has passed.

If you make a request, the service will begin immediately.

You will still have the right to cancel in this scenario; however, you will be required to pay for the value of the service that has been provided up until the point at which you cancel.

If you buy a service like a gym membership, start using the gym, and then change your mind within this 14-day time period, you will be refunded, but you may be charged for the amount of gym time that you used. For example, if you buy a gym membership and start using the gym, but then change your mind, you will be refunded.

If the full service is provided within 14 days, there will be no charge.

If the customer receives the full service before the 14-day cancellation period is up, they may find that they no longer have the option to cancel the contract.

Exemptions

There are certain contracts in which you will not have the right to terminate a service at any time. For instance, hotel reservations, airline tickets, car rentals, tickets to concerts and other events, as well as situations in which the trader is performing emergency maintenance or repairs.

Always make sure you read over the terms and conditions.

Always check the terms and conditions in case you have more time to change your mind about a purchase. The minimum cancellation period that consumers are required to be given is 14 days, but many sellers choose to give customers even more time than this.

Putting an end to digital downloads.

Provisions pertaining specifically to digital content can be found in the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

During the 14-day period in which a customer has the right to cancel an order, a retailer is not permitted to deliver downloadable digital content such as music or software unless they have received the customer’s prior express consent.

The customer is responsible for acknowledging that once the download has begun, they will no longer have the ability to cancel the transaction.

If a customer does not provide their consent, they will not be able to download the digital content until the cancellation period has come to an end.

This is done before the digital content is downloaded to ensure that it is exactly what you want.

Previously checked boxes

The Regulations make it abundantly clear that a trader will not be able to charge a consumer for an item in the event that the item was selected for the consumer as part of the purchasing process rather than the consumer actively choosing to add it to their basket. This is because the consumer did not actively choose to add the item to their basket.

For instance, it is against the law for a retailer to charge for an extended warranty if the option was automatically selected for you when you placed the item in your shopping basket.

In the event that a company does charge you in this manner, you have the legal right to demand a refund.

Transportation of merchandise

The Consumer Rights Act, which came into effect on October 1, 2015, states that the retailer is responsible for the condition of the goods until the goods are received by you or by someone else whom you have nominated to receive them on your behalf, such as a neighbour. This responsibility continues until the goods are received by you or by someone else whom you have nominated to receive them on your behalf.

This indicates that the retailer, and not the delivery company, is responsible for the services rendered by the couriers that it employs; the delivery company is exempt from liability.

If a longer delivery period has not been agreed upon, the goods are required to be delivered to you within the default delivery period of 30 days. During this time, the retailer is required to deliver the goods to you.

If the delivery of your order is going to be later than what was agreed upon, and it was absolutely necessary that it be delivered on time, then you have the right to cancel the purchase and get a refund for the full amount.

In the event that the delivery is not time-sensitive, but another reasonable delivery time cannot be agreed upon, you are within your legal rights to cancel the order and receive a full refund if you do so.

Bringing back defective items

The Regulations are in addition to any other legal rights you may have in the event that you receive defective goods and wish to return them.

When you buy something online, you have the same consumer rights under the Consumer Rights Act (which replaces the Sale of Goods Act as of October 1, 2015) as you do when you buy something in a physical store, even if the product is defective and does not do what it is supposed to do or if it does not match the description given.

Any terms and conditions that state you are responsible for covering the cost of returning an item would be null and void in the event that the item being returned was defective in some way.

Exorbitant fees for phone calls

Helpline phone charges that are higher than the basic rate are not allowed under the Consumer Contracts Regulations. This applies to calls made by existing customers to the retailer or trader about products that they have purchased.

For instance, if you are calling a retailer to voice a complaint, inquire about the status of your order, or cancel your order, the retailer is not permitted to use a premium rate number. They are obligated to give you a number with a basic rate that you can call.

The same is true for customers of energy supply companies. If you have a question or concern regarding your account, you are required to be given a number that operates at a basic rate so that you can call it.

In the event that you are required to call a business on a number that incurs a surcharge in order to discuss products or services that you have purchased or have agreed to purchase, you have the legal right to demand reimbursement from the business for the surcharge.

The aforementioned guidelines are not applicable to sales calls.