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Trading Places – Four Changes to Note in New Consumer Laws

08 May 2014

Mason Hayes & Curran Technology Law Blog

New laws regulating consumer purchases, particularly those made online, will come into play on 13 June 2014. The European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and Other Rights) Regulations 2013 (the “Regulations”) consolidate the current laws governing off-premises and distance purchases by consumers. The Regulations set out the information that a trader must provide to a consumer before they are bound by the contract. Consumers are now given an extended period of 14 days in which to cancel off-premises and distance contracts and they must also be provided with instructions by the trader on how they can cancel. The Regulations also restrict payment and phone charges that a trader can impose on a consumer.

1.Information provided by traders

For contracts concluded both on- and off-premises, the trader must inform the consumer of specific details, including the price, after sales services and guarantees, the trader’s complaints policy, any additional charges and the cost and duration of delivery. Where the contract is concluded other than on-premises, additional information such as the right to cancel and the related conditions, time limits and procedures for exercising that right will be required. The trader shall also provide a model cancellation form and a copy or confirmation of the concluded contract to the consumer.

2.Explicit obligation to pay

Online traders will be specifically required to ensure that consumers clearly acknowledge that their order involves an obligation to pay. This means that where the sale entails clicking a button or a similar action, it should be clearly and obviously labelled to indicate this commitment.

3.Extension of cancellation period