For those of you who have domestic customers there is a piece of legislation which is little known but of great significance. These are the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.
These Regulations apply where the contract is entered into off your business premises, often the home of the consumer. Failure to comply with the Regulations can have dire financial consequences for the trader, you.
The Regulations provide that before a consumer is bound by a contract concluded off trade premises they must be provided with certain information. The list is extensive but includes your name (or company name), a physical address, the goods or services to be provided and, importantly, details of their right to cancel. In addition to the right to cancel you must provide a cancellation form. Regulation 19 makes it a criminal offence to fail to provide details of the right to cancel.
Where the required information has not been provided Regulation 31 extends the time for cancellation to 14 days from when the information is provided or up to one year.
You can only start the work before the end of the cancellation period if the consumer specifically asks you to in writing and acknowledges that they are waiving their right to cancel. The consumer cannot be charged for work carried out in the cancellation period unless they have done this.
The upshot is that if you do the work without giving the information on cancellation rights you will almost certainly do the work in the cancellation period, and may not be able to enforce the contract if the customer does not pay.
For further advice regarding contracts or other business related law – contact us on 01792 468684 or email us.