Consumer contracts

Right to cancel consumer contracts


Consumers who decide that they do not wish to proceed with an off-premises or distance contract have two main rights. They can:

  • withdraw their offer if it has not been accepted by you - this is an open-ended right, which will end when the contract is made, after which they can move to their right to cancel if appropriate
  • cancel a contract - within a specified period of time consumers have the right to pull out of a contract, providing the contract is not one where there is no right to cancel

For more information on the differences between on-premises, off-premises and distance contracts, see types of consumer contract.

Consumers who enter into (or offer to enter into) off-premises or distance contracts will have 14 calendar days in which to change their minds. They do not have to give you a reason for doing so. You must provide them with the cancellation form, but they do not have to use it as long as they make clear that they are cancelling.

The 14 days for cancellation starts the day after the consumer recieves the goods. In the case of service contracts, it starts when you enter into the contract with the consumer.

The consumer should generally return any goods within 14 days, unless you have offered to collect them. You should refund the consumer within 14 days of receiving the goods back or receiving proof they have been sent back. In the case of services, you should refund them within 14 days of the consumer informing you of the cancellation. This must be a full refund. You cannot charge a cancellation fee. 

Collection of cancelled goods

Provided the consumer is aware before they commit to the contract that returns will be at their expense, you may charge for a collection service. However, the consumer doesn't have to pay for return if:

  • the goods were left with them when you made the contract
  • the goods can't be returned by post

In this case, they should make the goods available for collection instead. 

For more information on responsibilities when goods are in delivery, see consumer contracts delivery and risk.

Limiting cancellation rights

If the consumer cancels after entering a contact, you may claim money for goods already used, or r services already delivered, so long as:

  • before the contact, you made the consumer aware of they must pay for services or products used
  • you had express consent to begin the services in the cancellation period 

There are exemptions from the right to cancel consumer conttracts.