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Know the rules – contract regulations that affect traders and consumers

We look at how the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 affect how traders agree contracts with their customers.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 came into force in June 2014. The regulations affect traders who provide home improvement and repair services, as well as updating requirements relating to selling goods and services online, better known as distance selling. 

Which? has a comprehensive guide to these regulations from a customer’s point of view.

In a nutshell

The main changes are:

  • the customer’s right to cancel period has gone up from 7 to 14 days
  • you need to provide extra information on customer contracts
  • you should use a standard cancellation form for each job

Changes in detail

Contracts made in-person

Many of the changes in this legislation refer to distance selling, so for many Which? Trusted traders these regulations won’t apply. If you make a contract with a customer face-to-face, on your premises or in their home, you still have to provide them with information about:

  • the service or goods they’re buying
  • the price
  • details of delivery or any other costs

Distance sales

If you do sell over the phone or online, be aware that you now need to provide the following information on your contracts:

  • a description of the work or products, including how long the customer is tied in to the agreement 
  • the total price of the job or goods, or how you’ll calculate the final price, if you can’t do it before work starts
  • how the customer is expected to pay for the goods or services and when they will receive them
  • all additional delivery charges and other costs (and if these charges can't be calculated in advance, the fact that they may be payable)
  • details of who pays for the cost of returning items if the customer has the right to cancel or change their mind
  • a standard cancellation form plus details of your cancellation policy
  • information about your business, including address and contact details and the address and identity of any other subcontractors

Customers are entitled to cancel and goods or services up to 14 days after they enter into a contract with you. Under the regulations, if the customer asks you to provide the service and you complete it within the 14 day cooling-off period, the right to cancel is forfeit. The right to cancel also does not apply to undertaking emergency repairs.

We know it can be difficult to keep up to date with changing rules and regulations, especially when often they are not accompanied by a fanfare of publicity. So we aim to ensure that all our endorsed traders are given advance notice and guidance to help them get it right before they get it wrong.

Remember, all Which? Trusted traders are legally required to adhere to these regulations.  If you don’t, you risk not getting paid for your work and could even be committing a criminal offence.  And, of course, it could affect your Which? Trusted trader status.

More on this…

Tags: Regulations

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