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Mandatory Cancellation Notice

There are two rights for consumers who decide that they do not wish to proceed with a contract. They are able to:

  • withdraw their offer if it has not been accepted by the trader - for example, by placing an order for goods online where the terms make clear that a contract is not entered into until the goods are despatched. This is an open-ended right, which will end when the contract is made, after which they can move to their right to cancel if appropriate
  • cancel a contract. Within a specified period of time, the Regulations give consumers the right to pull out of a contract that they would otherwise be bound by, providing the contract is not one where there is no right to cancel 

Cancellation periods are set out in the table below. The periods start from when the contract was made until the end of the period shown in the table. Reference will be made to sales contracts, service contracts and digital content and you should refer back to the definitions provided earlier.

Type of contract Cancellation period
a service contract 14 days, starting the day after the day on which the contract was made
the supply of digital content not supplied on a tangible medium 14 days, starting the day after the day on which the contract was made*
a sales contract (goods or goods and services) but see below 14 days, starting the day after the day on which the goods come into the physical possession of the consumer or the person that they ask you to deliver the goods to
a sales contract consisting of an order for multiple goods that are delivered on different days 14 days, starting the day after the day on which the last of the goods come into the physical possession of the consumer or the person that they ask you to deliver the goods to
a sales contract consisting of an order for multiple lots or pieces that are delivered on different days 14 days, starting the day after the day on which the last of the lots or pieces come into the physical possession of the consumer or the person that they ask you to deliver the goods to
a sales contract for regular delivery of goods during a period of longer than one day 14 days, starting the day after the day on which the first of the goods come into the physical possession of the consumer or the person that they ask you to deliver the goods to

[*This period does not apply if the consumer has expressly requested that the download is started within the cancellation period, has acknowledged the loss of their cancellation right and has been given the required information.]

A consumer can withdraw from the contract, or cancel within the cancellation period, by informing you that they wish to do so. There is no requirement for how this should be done but in the event of a dispute the burden falls upon the consumer to prove that they did cancel within the cancellation period. Therefore the consumer will be well advised to ensure that they have some durable proof of their cancellation, which you could ask for if there was a dispute regarding whether or when they had informed you of their decision to cancel.

The Regulations do offer some guidance on how consumers can exercise their right to cancel a contract:

  • they can use the model cancellation form, but they don't have to
  • they can use any other clear statement to inform you
  • if you offer an online cancellation option on your website consumers need not use it
  • if consumers do use your online option you must acknowledge receipt of their cancellation, using a durable medium, without delay
  • cancellation is only effective if the communication is sent to you before the end of the cancellation period. The key time is when the communication was sent, not when you received it