Tough New Rules for Internet Businesses

Mark Cummings  23-07-2014

The Consumer Contracts (Information Cancellation and Addition Charges) Regulations 2014, could prove particularly harsh for internet-based businesses.

The Regulations set out the information which must be provided to customers before any sales transaction is completed, although the information differs depending on whether the sale is made on business premises, over the telephone or online.  

For example, under the new Regulations, businesses must now:

  • Give customers a cancellation form and their complaints handling procedure;
  • Have no hidden costs;
  • Confirm there is a “cooling off” period of at least 14 days;
  • Give refunds within 14 days; and
  • Obtain acknowledgement of an "obligation to pay" from a customer in order to conclude the contract.

For a business conducted largely over the internet, the last in this list is probably the most important. It's not enough to have a button for customers to click which simply says "order", as this will not comply with the Regulations.

Failure to comply with the Regulations could result in claims for breach of contract, enforcement action by Trading Standards or even criminal prosecution. 

Since this article was first published, there has been an explosion in the number of businesses using the internet to conduct all or most of their business, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is therefore more important than ever that you know the rules which govern this type of internet business. 

Samuels' experts can help you ensure your business meets the new requirements. Contact us for a free, no obligation discussion.

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