The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulation 2000
First let me start by saying that I am not a solicitor, and that any advice given here is based on my own personal view.
First of all we need to look at what the regulation require
Text in italics is taken from the Regulations and can be found in full at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2000/20002334.htm further information can be found at the following websites
http://businesslink.gov.uk and also at http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_resources/resource_base/legal/distance-selling-regulations
Information required prior to the conclusion of the contract
7. – (1) subject to Paragraph (4), in good time prior to the conclusion of the contract the supplier shall –
(a) provide to the consumer the following information –
(i) the identity of the supplier and, where the contract requires payment in advance, the supplier’s address;
(ii) a description of the main characteristics of the goods or services;
(iii) the price of the goods or service including all taxes;
(iv) delivery costs where appropriate;
(v) the arrangements for payment, delivery or performance;
(vi) the existence of a right of cancellation except in the cases referred to in regulation 13;
(vii) the cost of using the means of distance communication where it is calculated other than at the basic rate;
(viii) the period for which the offer or the price remains valid; and
(ix) where appropriate, the minimum duration of the contract, in the case of contracts for the supply of goods or services to be performed permanently or recurrently;
(b) inform the consumer if he proposes, in the event of the goods or services ordered by the consumer being unavailable, to provide substitute goods or service (as the case may be) of equivalent quality and price; and
(c) inform the consumer that the cost of returning and substitute goods to the supplier in the event of cancellation would be met by the supplier.
(2) The supplier shall ensure that the information required by paragraph (1) is provided in a clear and comprehensible manner appropriate to the means of distance communication used, with due regard in particular to the principles of good faith in commercial transactions and the principles governing the protection of those who are unable to give their consent such as minors.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4), the supplier shall ensure that his commercial purpose is made clear when providing the information required by paragraph (1).
(4) In the case of a telephone communication, the identity of the supplier and the commercial purpose of the call shall be made clear at the beginning of the conversation with the consumer.
It Goes on
Right to cancel
10. - (1) Subject to regulation 13, if within the cancellation period set out in regulations 11 and 12, the consumer gives a notice of cancellation to the supplier, or any other person previously notified by the supplier to the consumer as a person to whom notice of cancellation may be given, the notice of cancellation shall operate to cancel the contract.
(2) Except as otherwise provided by these Regulations, the effect of a notice of cancellation is that the contract shall be treated as if it had not been made.
(3) For the purposes of these Regulations, a notice of cancellation is a notice in writing or in another durable medium available and accessible to the supplier (or to the other person to whom it is given) which, however expressed, indicates the intention of the consumer to cancel the contract.
(4) A notice of cancellation given under this regulation by a consumer to a supplier or other person is to be treated as having been properly given if the consumer -
(a) leaves it at the address last known to the consumer and addressed to the supplier or other person by name (in which case it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it was left);
(b) sends it by post to the address last known to the consumer and addressed to the supplier or other person by name (in which case, it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it was posted);
(c) sends it by facsimile to the business facsimile number last known to the consumer (in which case it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it is sent); or
(d) sends it by electronic mail, to the business electronic mail address last known to the consumer (in which case it is to be taken to have been given on the day on which it is sent).
(5) Where a consumer gives a notice in accordance with paragraph (4)(a) or (b) to a supplier who is a body corporate or a partnership, the notice is to be treated as having been properly given if -
(a) in the case of a body corporate, it is left at the address of, or sent to, the secretary or clerk of that body; or
(b) in the case of a partnership, it is left with or sent to a partner or a person having control or management of the partnership business.
Cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of goods
11. - (1) For the purposes of regulation 10, the cancellation period in the case of contracts for the supply of goods begins with the day on which the contract is concluded and ends as provided in paragraphs (2) to (5).
(2) Where the supplier complies with regulation 8, the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods.
(3) Where a supplier who has not complied with regulation 8 provides to the consumer the information referred to in regulation 8(2), and does so in writing or in another durable medium available and accessible to the consumer, within the period of three months beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods, the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the information.
(4) Where neither paragraph (2) nor (3) applies, the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of three months and seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer receives the goods.
(5) In the case of contracts for goods for delivery to third parties, paragraphs (2) to (4) shall apply as if the consumer had received the goods on the day on which they were received by the third party.
Exceptions to the right to cancel
13. - (1) Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer will not have the right to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation pursuant to regulation 10 in respect of contracts -
(a) for the supply of services if the supplier has complied with regulation 8(3) and performance of the contract has begun with the consumer's agreement before the end of the cancellation period applicable under regulation 12;
(c) for the supply of goods made to the consumer's specifications or clearly personalised or which by reason of their nature cannot be returned or are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly;
Recovery of sums paid by or on behalf of the consumer on cancellation, and return of security
14. (3) The supplier shall make the reimbursement referred to in paragraph (1) as soon as possible and in any case within a period not exceeding 30 days beginning with the day on which the notice of cancellation was given.
(5) Subject to paragraphs (6) and (7), the supplier may make a charge, not exceeding the direct costs of recovering any goods supplied under the contract, where a term of the contract provides that the consumer must return any goods supplied if he cancels the contract under regulation 10 but the consumer does not comply with this provision or returns the goods at the expense of the supplier.
(6) Paragraph (5) shall not apply where -
(a) the consumer cancels in circumstances where he has the right to reject the goods under a term of the contract, including a term implied by virtue of any enactment, or
(b) the term requiring the consumer to return any goods supplied if he cancels the contract is an "unfair term" within the meaning of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999
(7) Paragraph (5) shall not apply to the cost of recovering any goods which were supplied as substitutes for the goods ordered by the consumer.
Restoration of goods by consumer after cancellation
17. - (1) This regulation applies where a contract is cancelled under regulation 10 after the consumer has acquired possession of any goods under the contract other than any goods mentioned in regulation 13(1)(b) to (e).
(2) The consumer shall be treated as having been under a duty throughout the period prior to cancellation -
(a) to retain possession of the goods, and
(b) to take reasonable care of them.
(3) On cancellation, the consumer shall be under a duty to restore the goods to the supplier in accordance with this regulation, and in the meanwhile to retain possession of the goods and take reasonable care of them.
(4) The consumer shall not be under any duty to deliver the goods except at his own premises and in pursuance of a request in writing, or in another durable medium available and accessible to the consumer, from the supplier and given to the consumer either before, or at the time when, the goods are collected from those premises.
(5) If the consumer -
(a) delivers the goods (whether at his own premises or elsewhere) to any person to whom, under regulation 10(1), a notice of cancellation could have been given; or
(b) sends the goods at his own expense to such a person,
he shall be discharged from any duty to retain possession of the goods or restore them to the supplier.
(6) Where the consumer delivers the goods in accordance with paragraph (5)(a), his obligation to take care of the goods shall cease; and if he sends the goods in accordance with paragraph (5)(b), he shall be under a duty to take reasonable care to see that they are received by the supplier and not damaged in transit, but in other respects his duty to take care of the goods shall cease when he sends them.
(7) Where, at any time during the period of 21 days beginning with the day notice of cancellation was given, the consumer receives such a request as is mentioned in paragraph (4), and unreasonably refuses or unreasonably fails to comply with it, his duty to retain possession and take reasonable care of the goods shall continue until he delivers or sends the goods as mentioned in paragraph (5), but if within that period he does not receive such a request his duty to take reasonable care of the goods shall cease at the end of that period.
(8) Where -
(a) a term of the contract provides that if the consumer cancels the contract, he must return the goods to the supplier, and
(b) the consumer is not otherwise entitled to reject the goods under the terms of the contract or by virtue of any enactment,
paragraph (7) shall apply as if for the period of 21 days there were substituted the period of 6 months.
(9) Where any security has been provided in relation to the cancelled contract, the duty to restore goods imposed on the consumer by this regulation shall not be enforceable before the supplier has discharged any duty imposed on him by regulation 14(4) to return any property lodged with him as security on cancellation.
(10) Breach of a duty imposed by this regulation on a consumer is actionable as a breach of statutory duty.
Payment by card
21. - (1) Subject to paragraph (4), the consumer shall be entitled to cancel a payment where fraudulent use has been made of his payment card in connection with a contract to which this regulation applies by another person not acting, or to be treated as acting, as his agent.
(2) Subject to paragraph (4), the consumer shall be entitled to be recredited, or to have all sums returned by the card issuer, in the event of fraudulent use of his payment card in connection with a contract to which this regulation applies by another person not acting, or to be treated as acting, as the consumer's agent.
(3) Where paragraphs (1) and (2) apply, in any proceedings if the consumer alleges that any use made of the payment card was not authorised by him it is for the card issuer to prove that the use was so authorised.
(4) Paragraphs (1) and (2) shall not apply to an agreement to which section 83(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 applies.
(5) Section 84 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (misuse of credit-tokens) is amended by the insertion after subsection (3) of -
" (3A) Subsections (1) and (2) shall not apply to any use, in connection with a distance contract (other than an excepted contract), of a card which is a credit-token.
(3B) In subsection (3A), "distance contract" and "excepted contract" have the meanings given in the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000."
(6) For the purposes of this regulation -
"card issuer" means the owner of the card; and
"payment card" includes credit cards, charge cards, debit cards and store cards.
That ends the Excerpts
I would recommend that everyone thinks about what this means for them.
My personal recommendation is that you have a delivery note which you send out to customers with your orders, and that you list the information required above, include details of what they should do if the wish to cancel.
Bare in mind that you should follow the information above, but you only need to give specific information, for example, stating that you must be notified by email (give your email Address) within 7 days of delivery if the person wishes to cancel and return the goods, you should state how the goods should be returned, and at whose cost! You should also give details of how you intend making the refund, and when you will make it (with in three days of the safe return of the goods).
One of the key things you should be aware of is that if someone pays you on Paypal, then Paypal will often refund the money first and sort everything else out afterwards even if you don’t have the funds in your account, and they will charge you interest if your Paypal account is overdrawn (just like any bank).
I will be doing future information on this act, but I think doing more on this now would swamp most people