distance sellingselling goods at a distance, as opposed to over the counter, and now the subject of definition and regulation. The rules apply to contracts for goods or services to be supplied to a consumer where the contract is made exclusively by means of distance communication, that is any means used without the simultaneous physical presence of the consumer and the supplier including, for example, electronic mail. They do not apply to certain specified contracts such as contracts relating to the supply of financial services. They have only limited application to contracts for the supply of groceries by regular delivery and contracts for the provision of accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services.
The regulations require the supplier to provide the consumer with certain information prior to the conclusion of the contract. This information includes information on the right to cancel the distance contract, the main characteristics of the goods or services, and delivery costs. The supplier must inform the consumer prior to conclusion of a contract for services that he will not be able to cancel once performance of the service has begun with his agreement.
Where the Regulations apply, they provide a COOLING-OFF PERIOD to enable the consumer to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation to the supplier. The effect of giving notice of cancellation under the Regulations is that the contract is treated as if it had not been made. The Regulations provide that where the consumer's payment card is used fraudulently in connection with a distance contract the consumer will be entitled to cancel the payment. If the payment has already been made the consumer will be entitled to a re-credit or to have all sums returned by the card issuer.