Guide

Consumer contracts

Types of consumer contract

Consumer contract rules vary depending on the type of contract. In today's competitive marketplaces, businesses may be involved in several types of transaction eg a trader selling goods from a high street shop and also from a website. Understanding the definitions of the contracts you make will help you to follow the correct rules.

Consumer contracts are divided into three main types:

  • distance contracts – such as telephone, mail order and online sales, where the trader and consumer are not physically together - this refers to an organised means of distance selling, not just a one off
  • off-premises contracts - contracts concluded away from business premises and where both trader and consumer are present eg when visiting someone’s home
  • on-premises contract - sales on your business premises, including a trader's permanent premises as well as temporary premises (such as a market stall) where you usually operate

The content of contracts is also divided into three main types:

  • sales contracts - including contracts for the sale of goods and also for the supply of goods and services together eg a film on a DVD, supplying software on a disc, and the supply and fitting of a patio
  • service contracts - contracts that are for services only eg the services of a personal trainer or lawyer - supply of gas and electricity by utility suppliers will also be covered by this definition, whereas gas and electricity will be classed as goods when sold in limited amounts eg batteries and gas in containers
  • digital content - the supply of data eg music and software downloads or streamed films