News

16/07/14

A New EU Directive – a blow to retailers?
16/07/14
Since the 13th of June, a new EU directive has been enforced, heralding an increase in consumer rights regarding purchases made online or away from a retailer’s premises. The government passed the Consumer Contracts Regulations, the UK implementation of the EU directive on human rights. But is this bad news for retailers? It certainly seems a victory for the consumer at least. The new directive aims to uphold the same consumer rights across all of Europe, simultaneously providing more transparency for the consumer in regards to their rights.

What are the changes?
Under the current English Law, consumers are entitled to have seven working days to cancel an order if required, commonly known as the ‘cooling off period’. This has been extended to fourteen calendar days, initiating from the point which the consumer receives the goods, enabling consumers to return products regardless of their reason. Furthermore, the period in which retailers can provide refunds has been cut from 30 days to 14 days. These refunds must cover the cost of delivery and can be given at any time upon first receiving the goods. This slashes the time allocated for traders to check returned stock, meaning retailers’ processes must be fast, increasing the burden on their shoulders. The new directive further impacts the layout and interface of retailers’ websites. Buttons instructing customers to ‘buy or ‘confirm purchase’ must be scrapped and in place of them, text of ‘order with obligation to pay’ must be inscribed. This was implemented to prevent consumers from accidently committing themselves to an unwanted subscription or product. Moreover, automatically selected boxes on websites designed to coerce the consumer into paying for extra deals or insurance must also be prohibited, another way of protecting the customer.

What does this mean for retailers?
This spells difficulty and hassle for retailers, as it requires them to implement major changes to their systems; including re- training staff, rewriting their terms and conditions and redesigning their websites, particularly the final payment screen. Retailers must now review their entire business structure to ensure it complies with the new regulations. In an age where almost everything relies on technology, this new directive encompasses all businesses across the nation, affecting the way in which consumers and their rights are handled and regarded.

Where we come in
If you require any further information or assistance, whether it be reviewing the terms and conditions of your business or aiding you in drafting new contracts, we are more than happy to help.

Contact us on 020 8805 5307 or enquiries@isolicitor.co.uk for a no obligation chat.