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Many people shop at a distance, for instance, they may order goods, services and digital content over the internet, by mail order, by telephone, by digital television or by fax. In the UK, distance selling transactions are generally covered by normal buying and selling legislation, predominantly the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Consumers are also given additional rights by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (known as “the Consumer Contracts Regulations”).

The Consumer Contracts Regulations, which implement in the UK the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EC), came into force on 13 June 2014. In a nutshell, the Regulations require traders to give consumers certain specified information. The nature of this information varies depending on whether the sale was made at a distance (for example, online or over the phone) or face-to-face somewhere that was not the store or business premises of the trader (also known as “off-premises” transactions). Importantly, the Consumer Contracts Regulations replaced the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (more commonly known as the “Distance Selling Regulations”).

This Library briefing paper provides information on the main provisions of the Consumer Contracts Regulations. It also outlines other legislation which regulates distance selling, namely, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (Parts 1 & 2) and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.


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