AM Online

Distance selling regulations

There is a potential minefield for retailers selling cars ‘at a distance’ i.e. the agreement to sell / buy being concluded without face-to-face contact. The use of websites to display the ‘virtual’ forecourt is a must for more and more retailers.

Consequently ‘Jed of Jedburgh’ may find the car he wants at ‘Fictitious Cars of Finchley’ and will ‘do the deal’ over the phone, by email or fax, deposits often being paid by card.

That typical scenario will be considered distance selling. Certain information must be supplied to the customer at or before delivery and part of that information is the customers legal right to cancel up to seven days after delivery of the vehicle. The right to cancel is entirely at the whim of the customer. Basically if they don’t like the car they can cancel it and have all their money back.

What is of more importance for retailers is the fact that if you do not provide the necessary information then cancellation rights extend to three months and seven days after delivery. A knowledgeable consumer can thus get away with three months of free loan car at zero expense and you end up with a car three months older and with an extra name on the registration document.

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