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Distance selling legal requirements

Please note that The Distance Selling Regulations 2000 has been superseded by The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. The following information applies to any contract entered prior to 13 June 2014 and was accurate at the time of writing. 


If you are selling goods online via your website, and you intend to have no face-to-face contact with your customer before purchase, you will have to comply with "The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000", more commonly referred to as "distance selling regulations".

See our full list of what you must include on your website in order to comply with distance selling regulations.

The regulations consider a 'distance' contract as the following:

"Any contract concerning goods or services concluded between a supplier and a consumer under an organised distance sales or service provision scheme run by the supplier who, for the purpose of the contract, makes exclusive use of one or more means of distance communication up to and including the moment at which the contract is concluded;".

If your service and goods apply to the distance selling regulations you are required to conform with the following:

  • You are required to refund any item if the customer changes their mind within 14 working days after the day on which the item was delivered. This is often referred to as a "cooling off" period. You must refund the buyer for any delivery charges, but you can charge the buyer for the cost of returning the item back to you if you clearly state this before purchase.
  • If you haven't provided the information about your business required under the Distance Selling Regulations (as outlined in our guide) the buyer has up to 3 months to cancel the contract and get their money back.

Please note that, under the Sale of Goods Act 1979, there's no legal requirement for you to provide a refund if the customer just changes their mind after the cooling off period required for distance selling.

This is subject to many other conditions such as performance of services etc, so we strongly recommend you take some time to read carefully through the full distance selling regulations to ensure you fully comply.

You can find the full distance selling regulation here:

Please also note that, as with any business selling goods or services, you should also be aware of and familiar with other regulations or acts such as:

Other useful resources about your website and the law can be found here:

Please note that this guide is for information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Furthermore, it is only applicable to sellers based in the UK.

If your business is based outside the UK, different rules will apply and you should seek local legal advice regarding this.

If you're unsure about how any of these laws apply to you, please seek advice from a lawyer, Consumer Direct or similar professional.

More Questions?

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