Consumer contracts

Off-premises consumer contracts

Guide

You must provide consumers with certain information before entering a contract. See providing consumers with contract information for the information that must be provided for all transactions.

 Additional information needs to be provided before a contract is made with a consumer buying goods off-premises, online, by mail order, by telephone or a similar distance sale:

  • if you're acting on behalf of another trader, their address and name 
  • where the consumer can address any complaints (if different from addresses already provided)
  • for an ongoing contract or subscription, the total costs per billing period, or the total monthly costs for fixed rate contracts 
  • any required communications costs above basic call rates - see consumer contracts additional charges
  • where a right to cancel exists, the conditions, time limit and process for cancelling (if a right to cancel applies)
  • the consumer will have to bear the cost of returning the goods in case of cancellation and, for distance contracts, the return costs if the goods cannot normally be returned by post (if this applies)
  • if the consumer exercises the right to cancel after an express request to start the supply of a service within the cancellation period, they may be liable to pay you reasonable costs
  • details of where there is no right to cancel, or how the consumer may lose the right to cancel
  • the existence and the conditions of any after-sale customer assistance, after-sales services and commercial guarantees
  • if you work under a code of conduct, and how to obtain a copy
  • any minimum duration of the consumer's obligations under the contract
  • any conditions of deposits or other financial guarantees to be paid or provided
  • details of any out-of-court complaint and process for redress mechanisms and how the consumer can use it

Where a right to cancel exists, you must give the consumer the model cancellation form (this should be in format provided by the Consumer Contracts Regulations). It is a criminal offence to not provide the consumer with their cancellation rights (where they exist).

You can download our sample instructions for consumer contract cancellation (DOC, 18K).

If you do not tell the consumer about delivery charges or costs of returning items before entering the contract - they are not liable to pay the charges.

If you are trading online, you need to make absolutely clear where there is an obligation for a consumer to pay. This can be through a clearly labelled 'pay now' button at the correct stage in the ordering process.