Posted: 16 June, 2014. Written by Mark
On 13 June 2014 the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 came into force. These regulations make significant changes to the consumer protection legislation governing businesses that agree contracts with domestic consumers in the home. The regulations will replace the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work (Doorstep Selling) Regulations 2008. They implement the EU Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) adopted in 2011.
RECC members whose business model includes signing contracts with domestic consumers in the home will be affected by these regulations. RECC will be updating the Code over the coming weeks to take account of the regulations. In the meantime you should be aware that you will need to make changes to your terms and conditions and business practices. The regulations will apply to all contracts agreed on or after 13 June 2014.
The principal changes that will affect RECC members who sign contracts in the home are as follows:
• the cooling off period will increase from 7 to 14 days and for sales contracts (any contract that has both goods and services as its object) will start on the day the last part of the goods relating to the contract is delivered. This does mean that the cooling off period effectively runs for the entire period between the signing of the contract and 14 days after the delivery of the goods. The delivery and installation can take place within the 14 days cooling off period but only at the express request of the consumer and this must be in writing.
• all funds must be refunded to the consumer within 14 days of the consumer cancelling the contract
• businesses may retain funds to cover any services the consumer expressly requested to be carried out in the cooling off period
• all ancillary contacts will be automatically terminated if the consumer cancels the main contract, not just the credit agreements, as is the case now
• any additional payments may only be taken with express consent from consumers
• there can be no above-cost surcharges for use of payment cards or other payment methods.
Additional in-depth guidance will be sent to members shortly.