When you buy goods, services or digital content without face-to-face contact with a business, this is known as 'distance selling'.
The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 regulates distance selling contracts in the UK (these regulations are referred to as the 'distance selling regulations' in this law guide).
When you buy from a business in this way, they must give you certain information in a clear and unambiguous way before you enter into a binding contract.
This means that the information must be given on paper, by email or using another format that lets you personally access the information. The business must ensure that you can copy, but not change, the information.
Before you order
The seller must give you the following information:
- Their name, geographical address where they're based, contact telephone number, fax number and email address
- A description of the main characteristics of the goods, services or digital content
- The price of the goods or services, including all taxes
- Any delivery costs and other additional costs, such as paying a deposit
- The arrangements for paying the delivery of the goods, performing of the services or supplying of digital content
In addition, the seller must also provide other information, if it applies. This includes information on:
- Whether you have the right to cancel, and if so, information on the time limit, procedures to follow and a cancellation notice for you to use
- Your responsibility to pay to return any goods if you cancel the contract
- What will happen if you agree to start a service before the end of the usual 14-calendar-day cancellation period (see 'Exceptions to the right to cancel' under Cancellation periods for more information)
- The compatibility of any digital content
- The minimum duration of the contract in the case of a contract to supply goods or services permanently (e.g. a contract for a mobile phone or for cable TV services) or recurrently (e.g. a contract with a monthly book club)
- Any after-sales service (which must not use a premium rate telephone number)
- Any codes of conduct and where copies can be found
- Any out-of-court settlement systems that the business must use for complaints