How to cancel a contract

How to cancel a contract

Contents

You'll have a right to cancel a distance selling contract under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (which are referred to here as the 'distance selling regulations'). (This won't be the case if it's exempt from these regulations).

If you have the right to cancel a distance selling contract, you must tell the seller if you want to cancel the contract or withdraw your offer to buy the goods or services. You don't need to give a reason for doing so unless the cancellation period expires. See Cancellation periods for more information.

Withdrawing the offer

You can withdraw your offer at any time before goods are sent to you or before the service has begun.

The law doesn't specify how you should tell the seller that you wish to withdraw from the contract. So, you should either contact the seller or check the terms and conditions of their website to confirm how this should be done.

Cancelling the contract (during the cancellation period)

The seller must give you a cancellation form, but you don't have to use it. If you don't, you must ensure that you make it clear to the seller that you want to cancel the contract.

If the seller's cancellation form can be completed on its website and you use it, the seller must send you an acknowledgment that they've received your request to cancel.

Whatever method you use, you must make sure you do so within the cancellation period. The contract will then be cancelled once you send your request to cancel.

If there is a dispute, you'll have to prove that you sent your notification within the cancellation period.

What happens after withdrawing or cancelling

Once you withdraw from or cancel the contract, you and the seller are no longer bound by it.

The seller must refund everything you paid for the goods or services, including any postage or delivery charges you paid.

Exceptions

However, the seller won't need to refund everything you paid for if any of the following apply:

  • If you requested a delivery that cost more than the cheapest form of delivery that the seller offers, e.g. next day delivery instead of standard delivery, you won't be able to claim the full delivery cost back. Instead, the seller will reimburse you the cost of the cheapest delivery.
  • If you asked for the service to start before the normal cancellation period ends, but later cancel the contract before the end of this period, you'll have to pay a proportion of the service provided (if the service isn't yet complete). The price to pay will be based on the contract price.
  • If you've damaged the goods, the seller can reduce the amount that they should reimburse to you. Depending on the amount of damage, they could deduct an amount up to the price you paid for the goods. However, you are allowed to remove any packaging the goods came in so that you can see it. But, just like you would do in a shop, you shouldn't open the item itself. If you do and damage the item or the packaging it came in, the seller can reduce the amount that they should reimburse you. Note that this won't apply if the seller didn't give you the information on your right to cancel, and the time limit and procedures for cancelling the contract.

Cost of returns

The seller can only charge you for the cost of returning the goods if:

  • The seller hasn't agreed to pay for the return of the goods; and
  • The contract specifies that you're responsible for the cost of returning the goods if you cancel the contract and you get notice of this in advance as part of the information required.

You won't have to pay for the cost of returning the goods if they're faulty or don't comply with the contract for some other reason. In addition, if the seller has agreed to collect the goods, you won't have to pay for it unless you agree to it.

Repayment

The seller must not impose any fee for reimbursing you (such as 'admin fees'). The seller must also reimburse you using the same payment method you used to pay, unless you agreed to use another form of repayment.

Contracts for the sale of goods or the sale of goods and services

If you return the goods to the seller

If you return the goods to the seller, they must reimburse you. This must be done by the end of 14 calendar days, starting on:

  • The day after the seller receives the goods back from you; or
  • The day after you give the seller evidence that the goods have been sent, if this is earlier (evidence can include, for example, a post office 'proof of posting' receipt).

For example, if you gave the seller evidence that the goods were sent on 1 May, they must reimburse you by the end of 15 May.

If the seller collects the goods from you

If the seller collects the goods from you, they must reimburse you. You must be reimbursed by the end of 14 calendar days starting on the day after you told them that you wanted to withdraw or cancel the contract.

Contracts for the supply of services only

The seller must reimburse you by the end of 14 calendar days starting on the day after you told them you wanted to withdraw or cancel the contract.

Returning goods

If you have to return the goods, you must return them to:

  • An address specified by the seller; or
  • If an address isn't specified by the seller, the seller's consumer contact address; or
  • If the contact address isn't provided, any business address of the seller.

You must send or handover the goods no later than 14 calendar days starting from the day after you told the seller that you want to cancel the contract.