Consumer Frequently Asked Questions
Below you can find answers to some of the questions we are most frequently asked by Consumers.
Can I Cancel My Order?
If you placed your order in a face-to-face situation with a Direct Seller, Distributor or Consultant this is known as an “off-premises” sale.
Generally, the law gives the consumer the right to cancel up to 14 days after the date of delivery of the goods (the exceptions include perishable, bespoke and personalised goods). At the time of placing your order, you will be given a copy of your Customer Order Form which details your Legal Right of Cancellation and will include a detachable Model Cancellation Form which you can use if you wish to notify your cancellation. However, you do not have to use the model cancellation form to communicate your cancellation – for example, you may use email or the postal service to inform your seller of your decision to cancel. This will be effective if it is done within the cancellation period of 14 days. However, although the legal period for cancellation expires at the end of the 14 days, many DSA companies expressly allow a longer period (often up to 30 days) for you to back out of the contract. If this is the case, it will be made very clear on the copy of the Customer Order Form given to you.
If you placed your order online, the situation is the same as set out above but you will not have been given a copy of a Customer Order Form. However, you should have been given the same information either in an email confirming your order or in some other way which is in durable form (e.g. on an invoice delivered with the goods) – and you should have received that no later than when the goods are delivered.
In the case of a contract to sell service the cancellation period lasts for 14 days after the date the contract is made.
The law which establishes the legal right to cancel comes from the EU Consumer Rights Directive and in UK law is to be found in the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Payments) Regulations 2013.
What if I have Used the Goods Before Cancelling?
If you have used the goods more than was necessary to examine them (i.e. as one might examine goods when buying in a shop), then any resulting reduction in their value can be deducted by the Seller from the refund he/she gives you when you cancel.
Can I Recover the Cost of Returning Goods After I Have Cancelled?
Generally you will need to return the goods in order to be entitled to a refund after cancellation. Usually you will have been informed that the cost of returning them will fall upon you. In that case you cannot expect to receive a refund of that cost – though you can expect a refund of the purchase price you paid and of any standard delivery charge which you paid to receive the goods.
What if the Goods are Defective?
Goods are required by law to correspond with the description (or sample) by which they were sold. They are also required to be of satisfactory quality. If the goods do not comply with these legal requirements, the buyer (the consumer) has the right for a reasonable period of time to reject the goods and have a complete refund of the price. Alternatively, to exercising the short term right to reject, the Consumer can ask the Seller to replace or repair the goods. If this is not done within a reasonable time, the consumer is then entitled either to demand a reduction in the price or to exercise a final right to reject the goods.
In addition to the rights already mentioned, the Consumer has the right to claim damages (compensation – but not so as to be compensated twice over) from the Seller and that right can be enforced in the courts for up to six years (or three years if the claim is for personal injuries) after the goods were bought. These rights cannot be taken away or reduced by the terms of the contract by which the consumer bought the goods. Also, where goods are not of satisfactory quality, the Consumer is not expected to bear the cost of returning the goods.
It is also possible that the manufacturer (or some other body in the supply chain) has provided a guarantee. That guarantee cannot take away the Consumer’s rights against the Seller. It can, however, be a useful alternative way for a Consumer to make a claim, if the guarantee can be shown to have been broken. Any claim under a guarantee must be made against the person or company which gave the guarantee.
Where Can I Get Further Advice?
In addition to the DSA helpline on 01604 625700 you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or your local Council Trading Standards office.