The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 replaced the Cancellation of Contracts Made in the Consumers Home or Place of Work etc. Regulations 2008, on 13th June 2014.
Where does this apply?
The Regulations relate to all ‘off premises contracts’ that are concluded or offered to be concluded by the consumer in the presence of the agent at any location (other than the agent’s office).
However it would be extended to the office if the contract was concluded in the agent’s office immediately following a face to face meeting away from the office premises. This would include a contract concluded by any means of distance communication if was immediately following the meeting between the consumer and the agent.
The purchase of land or the renting of residential premises are excluded from these Regulations, therefore it would not be applicable to tenancy agreements or a conveyance of land.
Provision of information
Before a consumer is bound by an off-premises contract, the consumer must be given specific information in a clear and comprehensive manner. This information includes 24 items and can be found in Schedule 2 of the Regulations. A template can be found in Schedule 3 of the Regulations.
The consumer must also be given a cancellation form — a model template is in Part B of Schedule 3.
The information and cancellation form must be on paper or, with agreement, another durable medium.
The agent must provide the consumer with a copy of the signed contract or confirmation of the contract.
Failure to provide information could result in a fine of currently up to £5,000. The consumer will also have the right to cancel the contract without penalty within twelve months from entering into the contract
The cancellation of the contract
The consumer can cancel within fourteen days from entering into the contract, without penalty, either by using the cancellation form or by making a clear statement. (In other words they could cancel orally face to face or over the phone, or using their own written communication).
In the event of dispute, however, it will be the consumer’s obligation to prove the contract was cancelled within the required time frame.
The agent must not begin the supply of the service within the fourteen days cancellation period for an off-premises contract unless the consumer has expressly requested it start earlier. This request must be made in writing.
If the consumer then cancels he/she will be expected to pay for the service that has been supplied up to the point of cancellation. The payment will be calculated on an amount agreed in the contract or, if excessive, on the basis of the market value in comparison to other agents in the area.