Know your customers cancellation rights – they’re a pretty big deal!

Failure to inform your retail customers of their rights to cancel the use of your product or service may have serious ramifications to your business.

Without clarity on cancellation rights, it can become more of a challenge to resolve any disputes which may arise, so it’s important for any business owner (and their team) to clearly set out their company’s approach to cancellations.

In this month’s blog, our focus is on two core areas regarding cancellation rights for consumers. Selling without face to face contact and selling away from your usual trade premises.

If you don’t understand what the law means to your business it may well jeopardise your reputation.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013

Its name is quite a mouthful but it’s important for any business that deals with consumers to understand how the rules on cancellations work.

A consumer is someone who is buying something for their own use which, means that they are not buying it for their business, or profession.

The law states if a consumer goes to a shop to purchase goods or services, they have no right to cancel a purchase UNLESS they are given rights to do so by the sales contract or any agreement in place. This is often referred to as a Returns Policy. This does not apply where goods are faulty or misdescribed or a service is not provided to a reasonably competent standard.

Cancellation rights apply when a consumer buys something online or through a catalogue or away from the trader’s usual premises, so for example in their home or at a craft fair.

Whether you’re a tradesman providing a service, or an independent business selling telecoms contracts, it’s essential you inform your customers of their rights to cancel when they have one.

By doing this you are making it clear that they can cancel – within the set down 14-day time period – and move on to elsewhere, hassle-free.

It’s worth noting when someone buys something online (the purchaser) they get 14 days to cancel as long as you tell them about their cancellation rights.

If you as the trader fail to tell them and explain how they can be exercised, the purchaser has up to one year to cancel and you have to refund the purchase price, cost of delivery and pay for the return costs in full.

Cancellation must be distinguished from Termination of a contract. This has a very specific legal meaning.

Termination is where someone has breached the conditions of the agreed contract. It’s a get-out clause for either party who have failed to adhere to what was agreed.

It is a criminal offence not to tell a consumer they have cancellation rights if they are completing agreements off-trade premises.

Be sure to tell your clients about their cancellation rights – even more, so where failing to inform them could cost your company money!

To summarise, every business must understand the rights their customers have to cancel and should always clearly share these before any transaction takes place.

For further information about cancellation rights please get in touch.  

Crab Insight November 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 8, Issue 02, COMFORT

Welcome to the November edition of Crab Insight

We are well into the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness so beloved of John Keats. In business, we are contemplating the coming winter but we would like you to invite you to have comfort in the knowledge of what your customer’s cancellation rights are when buying a product or service – that’s our focus for the month along with returns and complaints!

Claudia Crab’s November Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

Cancellations, returns and complaints.

Don’t get caught out. Put in place clear policies and procedures so you are not sidetracked or have to firefight things on the back foot.Robert Briggs – Compliance Director Crimson Crab

Cancellation

It is important to differentiate between cancelling a contract and terminating a contract. Cancellation refers to ending a contract in circumstances set out in the contract or implied into the contract by legislation.

You need to know when a purchaser has cancellation rights and provide the necessary information and the correct documentation at the right time, particularly when the purchaser is a consumer as they have clear rights and there are legal sanctions if you get it wrong.

There are three sets of circumstances where the parties to a contract have cancellation rights.

  • Contractual cancellation rights i.e. those given in the wording of the contract (terms and conditions or agreement) itself.
  • Those given by the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 when making sales to a consumer (an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession) away from trade premises (e.g. in the consumers home or at a trade fair) or remotely (e.g. online)
  • Where credit is being provided and the customer is an individual consumer, a sole trader or a partnership of three or fewer people.

Returns

If you are selling on line to consumers then you need to think about returns.

Your guarantee or returns policy should meet legal requirements and not be open to abuse.

Under the Consumer Rights Act, consumers can return items which are faulty (and in certain other circumstances).

If the return is for this reason then you will have to reimburse the shipping costs (in and out) as well as the purchase price.

On the other hand, if the consumer is exercising their right to cancel the contract if you haven’t told them that they need to pay return postage it will be down to you.

Complaints

Your policy, procedures and processes for dealing with complaints should support your long-term business goals and provide for continuous business improvement.

Again you need to think about compliance with any rules specific to your industry or more widely.

Finally you need to consider alternative dispute resolution or ADR and how that will impact your complaints process.

Top tip – A great starting point to find out where you are, is our Business MOT

 

F2 Business Huddle Online

The next FREE

F2 Business Huddle online

is on

Friday 13 November 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It’s going to be the biggest ever

F2 Business Huddle

so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo

New Reputation Advocates

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Clarity and courage coaching for confidence


Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Crab Insight August 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 11, Protect

Welcome to the August edition of Crab Insight

The positive relationships any business has with its clients will help it thrive and survive – but there are things you must do to protect the bond between you and your customers… That’s why PROTECT is our word of the month! Don’t forget Crimson Crab is always on your side, ready to help you rise to the challenge. Stay safe.

Claudia Crab’s August Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“If you deal with consumers respect their rights and comply with the standards of trading.”

If you deal with retail sales and have consumers as your customer there are a plethora of rules and regulations that apply, including:

  • The Consumer Rights Act 2015
  • The Consumer Protection from Unfair Commercial Practices Regulations 2008 – control unfair practices and create criminal offences for traders that breach the regulations.
  • The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
  • The Provision of Services Regulations 2009

The law covers:

What you sell:

  • Goods
  • Digital content
  • Services

Where you sell it:

  • On-premises sales
  • Off-premises sales
  • Sales made at a distance

How you sell it:

  • Consumer contracts
  • Good practice
  • Pricing and payment

Other key areas to consider:

  • Underage sales
  • Food & Drink
  • Product Safety
  • Animals & Agricultural Products
  • Weights & Measures

Whatever you do you need to respect consumers rights and comply with certain minimum standards of trading.

To fail to do this can lead to serious consequences including being prosecuted by a regulator such as Trading Standards or Environmental Health.

Top tip – A great starting point to find out where you are, is our Business MOT


F2 Business Huddle Online

The next FREE

F2 Business Huddle online

is on

Friday 14 August 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It’s going to be the biggest ever

F2 Business Huddle

– so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo
Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Crab Insight July 2020

Red Tape Busters Volume 7, Issue 10, Profile

Welcome to the July edition of Crab Insight

What has been your biggest learning in recent weeks, and how will this change the way you present yourself to people?

Our word of the month for July is PROFILE, it’s all about how you will present yourself so as to stand out from the crowd in a digital-focused world?

Crimson Crab is on your side and ready to help you meet the challenges ahead.

Stay safe.

Claudia Crab’s July Focus

Claudia the Crimson Crab icon

“A website is a shop window to the world – it is also a great way to showcase breaches of the law”

If you have a website you need to make sure that you comply with the law in the following areas:

Disclosure

You should identify yourself correctly and give an address at which you can be contacted, there are specific requirements for a registered business, (e.g. Ltd, PLC, LLP).

Copyright

It’s imperative that you protect your copyright effectively and make sure that you do not breach other peoples copyright. It makes sense to also have a document setting out the terms of use of the website.

Disability Discrimination

Businesses have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to help disabled individuals access their goods, facilities and services. The Equalities Act 2010 requires that websites are accessible to disabled people including Blind people. One way of meeting this responsibility is for website owners to comply with the WCAG 2.0 standard at Level AA the UK Governments recommended best practice for accessibility. 

Data Protection

You need to make sure that you comply with the Data Protection laws (including the GDPR) for all contact forms and any personal data collection. You also need to make sure that you have an appropriate Cookies policy detailing the cookies used and their purpose (and for example use a pop-up or other means to obtain ‘consent’).

Provision of Services

If you provide any services on or offline you have to make sure you comply with the Provision of Service Regulations. They require service providers to make available contact details where information requests and complaints can be sent, together with other specified information.  One way of complying is to include the required information on a web page and proactively provide the link to clients when discussing your services.

E-commerce

When using a website for e-commerce purposes then you still need to comply with the law that relates to a bricks and mortar outlet along with some special rules for an online business.

So there must be for example no unfair commercial practices and suitable control of sales of age-sensitive products (e.g. alcohol, tobacco, fireworks, knives, solvents, videos & games). If any products are sold to which safety legislation applies, for example, toys, bicycles, electrical goods the rules have to be followed, as they do when food of any type is sold. 

The Consumer Contracts Regulations require that you provide certain information when selling online, and also require you to tell the customer about their right to cancel the purchase within 14 days (not 7 any more). Failure in this respect can mean that the customer can enjoy a much longer cancellation period (up to 12 months)!

You also have to be careful to comply with the requirements of Card Providers and you cannot make additional charges for using such payment methods.

There are also rules around the way that complaints are dealt with and the provision of access to Alternative Dispute Resolution and the European Commissions Online Dispute Resolution Platform.

Top tip – We can check out your website


F2 Business Huddle Online

The next online F2 Business Huddle is FREE

It’s on Friday 10 July 2020

12 noon to 2 pm

It is going to be the biggest F2 Business Huddle ever – so far

All the favourite features that you have come to know and love at the F2 Business Huddle – online


Reputation Advocates

When you need a reliable and dependable expert click on the crab

Accredited Crimson Crab Reputation Advocate Logo

Feedback

We love to receive feedback and it really helps us to improve our services for everyone.


Until next month look after your reputation!!

Ethical, legal, responsible trading wave
T:023 9263 7190 | E: enquiries@crimsoncrab.net | W: www.crimsoncrab.co.uk

Copyright (c) 2020 Crimson Crab Ltd, all rights reserved.

Why are Terms and Conditions important for my business?

Terms and conditions (T&Cs) – the small print – is understandably not the most exciting of issues for you to focus on, but they are crucial to safeguard your company and its clients.

Trusting peoples word is good, but it’s not enough if things go wrong.

What is the point in having Terms & Conditions for my business? Are they required by law? When did I last read the small print before signing on the dotted line?

Questions like these may be floating around in your head – so let’s clear up some of the negative connotations you may have when it comes to terms & conditions, and work towards building your understanding of their value.

Protect yourself

Even when your terms are written and signed, it doesn’t necessarily make them legally secure. When you are dealing with a non-business customer, according to the Gov.UK website: “A contract term and notice has to be fair to be legally binding on your customer. If it isn’t, they can challenge it – including in court if necessary.” There is also legislation which limits the extent to which one party can avoid liability through the use of exclusion clauses such as disclaimers in any contract.

Terms & conditions which are fair to your client have the power to protect your business if or when someone that has agreed to purchase your services doesn’t stick to what was originally agreed. It would be unwise to provide a service without terms & conditions with thorough but fair terms you will have more of a leg to stand on to protect yourself.

For example, if you sell something online a non-business customer gets a right to cancel the purchase for any reason within fourteen days of delivery. If you don’t tell them about that right they can have a year to cancel. You have to give a full refund including all postage charges.

Protect your clients

Whether you are operating as a B2B or B2C enterprise, nothing you achieve now would be possible without your customers. Every business needs the money to prosper – it’s economics – so why would you not want to protect your clients and reassure them in the process?

When you invest time to write your terms, place yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself about how they may read and access them.

Review your Terms & Conditions

It’s best practice to review terms on a regular basis – perhaps once a year or every time you change an element of your service – make it a part of your annual plan, to ensure they continue to be robust for your business, they are fit for purpose and continue to reassure clients who purchase your product or service.

It’s also worth noting and understanding what ‘force majeure’ means. It’s written into contracts to cover situations where unforeseeable circumstances prevent a person from fulfilling a contract. So – in a nutshell – when something goes pear-shaped your business and clients remain protected.

For more information or to discuss this topic further, get in touch with our team.