Implementing the Consumer Rights Directive

Implementing the Consumer Rights Directive

The Consumer Rights Directive

The Consumer Rights Directive aims to consolidate and update the law on distance and doorstep selling and is intended to be implemented in member states by 13 June 2014. The government has now published the draft Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations for consultation and accompanying FAQs, whose main areas of focus are:

  • information which traders should provide to consumers;
  • cancellation rights and responsibilities for distance and off-premises (doorstep) sales; and
  • measures to prevent hidden costs such as surcharges for delivery etc.

What does the Consumer Rights Directive apply to?

The new regulations apply to contracts between traders and consumers. Consumer is defined in regulation 4 as 'an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside that individual's trade, business, craft or profession' and a trader is defined as 'a person acting (personally or through an agent) for purposes relating to that person's trade, business, craft or profession'.

Another key definition is the definition of 'durable medium' which means paper or email, or any other medium (including a website) that allows information to be addressed personally to the recipient, enables the recipient to store the information in a way accessible for future reference for a period that is long enough for the purposes of the information, and allows the unchanged reproduction of the information stored.

A 'distance contract' means a contract concluded between a trader and a consumer under an organised distance sales or service-provision scheme without the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, with the exclusive use of one or more means of distance communication up to and including the time at which the contract is concluded.

An 'off-premises contract' means a contract between a trader and a consumer which is any of these:

  • a contract concluded in the simultaneous physical presence of the trader and the consumer, in a place which is not the business premises of the trader
  • a contract for which an offer

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