Buying Goods & Services

The Consumer Council

The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 require businesses/traders to give you certain information to help inform your purchase. The specific information varies depending on whether the sale is made:

  • at a distance, for example, online or over the phone;
  • somewhere that’s not the business premises of the trader (‘off-premises’), for example in your home or at a trade show; or
  • in store.

Key Sales Information

Distance/Off-Premise Sales

For distance or off-premises sales, the business/trader must provide the following key information:

  • a description of the goods, service or digital content, including how long they will last;
  • the total price of the goods, service or digital service or how a price will be calculated if it cannot be determined in advance;
  • how you the consumer will pay for the goods or services;
  • the delivery time-frame, which must not exceed 30 days unless otherwise agreed with you; all additional delivery charges and other costs (and if these charges cannot be calculated in advance, the trader/business must highlight that they may be payable);
  • if there are any delivery restrictions or limitations, for example, no delivery to Northern Ireland, or no ‘next day delivery’ option;
  • details of any right to cancel (the trader also needs to provide, or make available, a standard cancellation form to make cancelling easy although you do not have to use it);
  • details of who pays for the cost of returning items if you change your mind about wanting the goods;
  • information about the trader, including their geographical address and contact details, and the address and identity of any other trader for whom the trader is acting; and
  • information on the compatibility of digital content with hardware and other software that the trader is aware of, or can reasonably be expected to be aware of.

This information must be clear and easy to access. Failure to provide the required information, or to provide it in the way set out in the Regulations, could result in your cancellation rights being extended by up to a year. The information should be given in a ‘durable medium’ such as on paper or by email.

Alternatively, it can be provided in a way appropriate to the means of communication, so for example verbally if the contract is made by phone. You are also entitled to confirmation of the contract, and if the information was not initially provided in a durable form, the trader must provide it at the point of confirmation.

On-premises sales

A business/trader does not have to provide as much information with Distance/Off-Premise selling, as you can see the product for yourself in the shop. However, the business/trader should still provide information about:

  • the goods or services being bought;
  • the price;
  • the compatibility of digital content; and
  • details of any delivery costs.

Cancellation Rights Goods

You have the right to cancel an order for goods made at a distance and this starts from the moment you place the order, and ends 14 calendar 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 calendar days. You can have a service start during the cancellation period, but if you then decide to cancel, you must pay for any materials used or services provided prior to the cancellation. The right to cancel can be lost during the cancellation period if the service has been provided in full before the 14 days elapses.


There are some contracts where you do not 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.

Check the terms and conditions

Under the Regulations, the minimum cancellation period is 14 days, however service providers may choose to exceed this. Therefore, it is always important to check an individual seller’s terms and conditions in case they provide a longer period to change your mind

Your right to a refund

You should receive a refund within 14 calendar days of:

  • the trader getting the goods back. Sometimes the trader may issue a refund upon proof of postage.
  • of having returned the goods (for example, a proof of postage receipt from the Post Office). A deduction can be made if the value of the goods has been reduced as a result of you handling the goods beyond what was necessary to fully inspect the purchase.

Useful resources

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