From 13 June 2014, the Consumer Contracts Regulations – which implement the European Consumer Rights Directive into UK law – apply to all purchases you make at a distance, for example online or over the phone.
This piece of legislation replaces the Distance Selling Regulations. Exclusively Alpaca comply with the following regulations which can be found at Which? The Consumer protection website
- Your right to cancel an order for goods made at a distance starts from the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive your goods
- Your right to cancel a service made at a distance starts the moment you enter into the contract and lasts 14 days
- If you want to download digital content within the 14 day cancellation period you must agree to waive your cancellation rights
- Companies are not allowed to charge you for items they put in your online shopping basket or that you have bought as a result of a pre-ticked box
What are my rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations?
Your right to a refund
You should get a refund within 14 days of either the trader getting the goods back, or you providing evidence of having returned the goods (for example, a proof of postage receipt from the post office), whichever is the sooner.
A deduction can be made if the value of the goods has been reduced as a result of you handling the goods more than was necessary.
The extent to which you can handle the goods is the same as it would be if you were assessing them in a shop.
Refunding the cost of delivery
The trader has to refund the basic delivery cost of getting the goods to you in the first place, so if you opted for enhanced service eg guaranteed next day, it only has to refund the basic cost.
Your right to cancel You have 14 days from entering into a service contract in which you can cancel it.
The trader shouldn’t start providing the service before the 14 day cancellation period has ended, unless you have requested this.
If you request a service starts straightaway In this instance you will still have the right to cancel, but you must pay for the value of the service that is provided up to the point you cancel.
For example, if you buy a service like gym membership and start using the gym and then change your mind within this 14 day time period, you will be refunded but could be charged for the amount of gym time you used.
If the service is provided in full within 14 days The right to cancel can be lost during the cancellation period if the service is provided in full before the 14 days elapses.
Exemptions There are some contracts where you won’t have a right to cancel a service. For example, hotel bookings, flights, car hire, concerts and other event tickets, or where the trader is carrying out urgent repairs or maintenance.
Always check the terms & conditions 14 days is the minimum cancellation period that consumers must be given and many sellers choose to exceed this, so always check the terms and conditions in case you have longer to change your mind.
Cancelling digital downloads
The Consumer Contracts Regulations contain specific provisions for digital content.
Retailers mustn’t supply digital content, such as music or software downloads, within the 14 day cancellation period, unless the consumer has given their express consent to this happening.
The consumer must also acknowledge that once the download starts they will lose their right to cancel.
If a consumer doesn’t give their consent, they have to wait until the cancellation period has ended before they can download the digital content.
This is to ensure the digital content is what you want before downloading it.
Delivery of goods
The Consumer Rights Act, which came into force on 1 October 2015, says the retailer is responsible for the condition of the goods until the goods are received by you, or by someone else you have nominated to receive them on your behalf such as a neighbour.
This means that the retailer is liable for the services provided by the couriers it employs – the delivery firm is not liable.
There is a default delivery period of 30 days during which the retailer needs to deliver the goods to you unless a longer period has been agreed.
If your delivery is later than agreed and it was essential that it was delivered on time, then you have the right to cancel the purchase and get a full refund.
If the delivery isn’t time essential but another reasonable delivery time can’t be agreed, you’re also within your right to cancel the order for a full refund.
Returning faulty goods
If you receive faulty goods and wish to return them, the Regulations are in addition to your other legal rights.
So, if your goods are faulty and don’t do what they’re supposed to, or don’t match the description given, you have the same consumer rights under the Consumer Rights Act (which replaces the Sale of Goods Act from 1 October 2015) as you have when buying in store.
Any terms and conditions that say you must cover the cost of returning an item wouldn’t apply where the goods being returned are faulty.
Excessive call charges
The Consumer Contracts Regulations also prohibits helpline phone charges in excess of the basic rate for calls by existing customers to the retailer or trader about products purchased.
For example, if you are ringing to make a complaint, enquire about your order, or to cancel your order, retailers can’t use premium rate numbers. They must provide a basic rate number for you to call.
The same applies to energy supplier customers. You must be provided with a basic rate number to call if you have an enquiry or complaint about your account.
If you do have to call a company on a surcharged number about goods or services you have bought, or have agreed to buy, you have the right to claim back the surcharge from the company.
These rules do not apply to sales calls.