Information requirements in consumer contracts

Information requirements in consumer contracts

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The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (referred to here as the 'Consumer Contract regulations') set out the information that must be provided to consumers before they're bound by a contract to supply goods, services or digital content.

The information differs according to whether the contract is an on-premises, off-premises or distance contract. There are also information requirements for contracts made by electronic means set out in another set of regulations - the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (referred to here as the 'E-commerce regulations').

Pre-contract information for distance, off-premises and on-premises contracts in consumer sales

Pre-contract information is a term of the contract

The pre-contract information you're required to provide will become a term of the contract. If the information is incorrect, you'd have breached that term. Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the consumer could claim damages from you up to the amount of the price for costs they've incurred as a result.

Pre-contract information for distance contracts

If you're selling to a consumer without face-to-face contact (i.e. distance selling), you must give the consumer all of the information listed below in good time before the consumer enters into the contract with you. You must provide this information in a clear, comprehensible manner that's appropriate to the type of distance communication you're using to make the contract.

You must give the consumer all of the following information:

  • Main characteristics of the goods, services or digital content
  • Your trading name
  • Total price of the goods or services, including all taxes
  • Delivery and any other costs, where appropriate
  • In an indefinite or subscription contract, the total costs per billing period
  • If the consumer has a right to cancel, the time limit, conditions and procedures for cancelling
  • Duration of the contract, or if the contract is indefinite, the conditions for ending it.

You must also give the consumer all of the following information before the consumer is bound by the contract. However, if the means of distance communication used to make your contract only allows you limited time or space, you can provide the following information in another way:

  • Geographical address, telephone and fax numbers and email address of your business
  • Name and geographical address of any seller you're acting on behalf of
  • Cost of using the means of distance communication if that cost is higher than the basic rate
  • Arrangements for payment, delivery and performance, including the timeframe for when you'll deliver or carry out the service
  • Your complaints-handling policy and details of any out-of-court complaints compensation
  • That the consumer will have to bear the cost of returning the goods if this is the case, and the cost of doing so if regular post can't be used
  • That the consumer will have to pay for services received if they ask you to start performing during the cancellation period and then cancel after you've started
  • A statement saying that there's no right to cancel or that right could be lost, if it applies
  • A reminder that you have a duty to supply goods conforming to the contract
  • Details of after-sales service or guarantees
  • Which, if any, codes of conduct apply to you, and where the consumer can get copies
  • Minimum duration of the consumer's obligations under the contract
  • Existence and conditions of any deposits or other financial guarantees to be provided by the consumer
  • In a sale of digital content the functionality of the content and its compatibility with the consumer's hardware and software.

In addition, in most distance contracts you must give the consumer the model cancellation form set out in the Consumer Contracts regulations (see Consumer's right to cancel, under 'Model cancellation form' for more information).

Pre-contract information for off-premises contracts

In an off-premises contract, you must give the consumer all of the information listed below in a legible, clear, comprehensible manner before the contract is made. You must provide it on paper unless the consumer consents to you providing it on some other durable medium instead (see Regulatory requirements for consumer contracts for a definition of 'durable medium').

In addition to this pre-contract information, in most off-premises contracts you must give the consumer the model cancellation form set out in the Consumer Contracts regulations. (See Consumer's right to cancel, under the 'Model cancellation form' for more information.)

You must give the consumer all of the following information:

  • Main characteristics of the goods, services or digital content
  • Your trading name
  • Total price of the goods or services, including all taxes
  • Delivery and any other costs, where appropriate
  • In an indefinite or subscription contract, the total costs per billing period
  • If the consumer has a right to cancel, the time limit, conditions and procedures for cancelling
  • Duration of the contract, or if the contract is indefinite, the conditions for ending it.

You must also give the consumer all of the following information before the consumer is bound by the contract. However, if the means of distance communication used to make your contract only allows you limited time or space, you can provide the following information in another way:

  • Geographical address, telephone and fax numbers and email address of your business
  • Name and geographical address of any seller you're acting on behalf of
  • Cost of using the means of distance communication if that cost is higher than the basic rate
  • Arrangements for payment, delivery and performance, including the timeframe for when you'll deliver or carry out the service
  • Your complaints-handling policy and details of any out-of-court complaints compensation
  • That the consumer will have to bear the cost of returning the goods if this is the case, and the cost of doing so if regular post can't be used
  • That the consumer will have to pay for services received if they ask you to start performing during the cancellation period and then cancel after you've started
  • A statement saying that there's no right to cancel or that right could be lost, if it applies
  • A reminder that you have a duty to supply goods conforming to the contract
  • Details of after-sales service or guarantees
  • Which, if any, codes of conduct apply to you, and where the consumer can get copies
  • Minimum duration of the consumer's obligations under the contract
  • Existence and conditions of any deposits or other financial guarantees to be provided by the consumer
  • In a sale of digital content the functionality of the content and its compatibility with the consumer's hardware and software.

Contracts made by electronic means

If the off-site contract is concluded by electronic means, you'll also need to comply with the E-commerce regulations.

You must give the consumer all of the information below in a way that is easily and permanently accessible:

  • If you're registered in a trade or other publicly-available register (including the Register of Companies), details of the register and your registration number or another way of identifying you on the register
  • VAT registration number
  • If you're subject to an authorisation scheme, details of the relevant supervisory authority
  • If you're a member of a regulated professional body, details of that body, your professional title, together with a reference to the professional rules that govern you and how to find these rules
  • Any relevant codes of conduct governing you and where they can be found; and
  • For electronic contracts:
    • Different technical steps that need to be followed to conclude the contract electronically
    • Whether you'll file the contract and how it will be accessible
    • Technical steps to follow to identify and correct errors in the ordering process; and
    • The languages in which the contract can be made.

Pre-contract information for on-premises contracts with consumers

If you're supplying goods, services or digital content to a consumer using an on-premises contract, you must provide all of the following information in a clear, comprehensible way:

  • Main characteristics of the goods, services or digital content
  • Your trading name, geographical address and telephone number
  • Total price including all taxes
  • All additional delivery charges
  • Arrangements for payment, delivery and time for delivery
  • Your complaints-handling policy
  • A reminder that you're under a duty to supply goods conforming to the contract
  • Whether there's any after-sales service or guarantee, and their conditions
  • Duration of the contract and how it can be ended if it's indefinite
  • The functionality of digital content
  • The compatibility of digital content with hardware or software.

However, you don't have to supply this information if it's obvious from the circumstances, or if it's a day-to-day transaction that's performed immediately (e.g. selling goods in a shop).