Highland Council Trading Standards launch doorstep and distance selling business advice survey

New rules that apply to business activities in an off-premises contract, such online sales, mail order, telephone sales and agreements made in a consumer’s home came into force on 13th June 2014.

These new Regulations cover sales of goods and digital content and the supply of services and may affect a large proportion of Highland businesses involved home improvements, gardening and trades like plumbing, electrical, joinery, and painting as well as those Highland based businesses who regularly sell goods and services online by telephone or by mail order.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCICAC Regs 2013) introduce new obligations on traders to provide pre-contract advice to prospective customers in a durable format (e.g. by email or in writing).  Businesses are also required to inform prospective customers of their right to cancel as in some instances consumers are entitled to a 14 day cooling off period, in order to allow them an opportunity to change their mind.  

It is a criminal offence in an off-premises contract, if the consumer is not provided with:  

-       relevant information on cancellation rights;

-       who pays for returns and cost of cancelling a service contract  

and such a breach may result in a maximum fine of £5,000 being imposed.  

Failure to comply with the other provisions of the 2013 Regulations may be offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  

Non-compliance with the above legislation may also result in the consumer not having to pay for goods, services or digital content contracts, which will impact severely on the economic livelihood of the business concerned and consumers will also have their cancellation period extended to a maximum of twelve months if a business fails to provide a written notice of cancellation when an off-premises contract has been agreed by both parties.

Highland Council Trading Standards are keen to ensure that all Highland businesses that may be affected by these new rules are aware of their obligations and receive appropriate guidance on how to comply.   

Today (Tuesday, 22nd July) Highland Council Trading Standards are launching two self-assessment questionnaires relating to off premises contracts (distance sales and doorstep sales) for businesses affected to complete which can be downloaded from Highland Council website:  

  • Legal compliance assessment form for distance selling Distance Selling Survey 2014
  • Legal compliance assessment form for off–businesses premises (doorstep selling)  Doorstep Selling Survey 2014

Appropriate guidance for businesses can be found at: CCICAC regulations-guidance (pdf)  or the Trading Standards Institute website at http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/advice/advice-business.cfm

Businesses can also contact Highland Council’s Trading Standards directly either in person or in writing at:  The Highland Council Trading Standards, Development & Infrastructure Service, 38 Harbour Road, Inverness IV1 1UF or speak to an advisor on 01463/228700 (Mon to Fri 9.00am to 5.00pm)


22 Jul 2014