Distance Selling Regulations: What You Need to Know

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Distance Selling Regulations: What You Need to Know


Bridging out into online and international markets opens up new revenue streams and other opportunities for businesses, but it can also come with a number of bottlenecks too. Ensuring you’re clued up on any logistical and legal complications is key to making sure you don’t become stuck in a legislative rut.


This is where distance selling regulations come into play – a series of legal requirements businesses must adhere to if they’re selling goods without face-to-face contact.

What Are Distance Selling Regulations?

What Are Distance Selling Regulations?

Changed in 2014 to Consumer Protection Regulations – Distance Selling Regulations consist of a number of rules designed to protect customers that haven’t had the opportunity to see the goods they’ve purchased in person.


As a result, sellers must provide information for items and services bought online, over the phone or via mail order on the following:


  • A description of the product or service
  • The price (including delivery costs)
  • Consumer’s cancellation rights
  • The minimum duration of service contracts
  • Seller’s contact information
  • Seller’s VAT number (if registered)
  • Delivery and payment options
  • Delivery charges, where covered by the consumer
  • Total costs and how they are calculated
  • The minimum contract length for service agreements


Whether the order takes place online, over the phone or via mail, the information above should be formatted clearly and accurately to stay compliant.

Cooling-Off Period

Current regulations state that consumers have the right to cancel their contract or order within a 14-day cooling-off period and won’t face any charges for doing so. As a result, sellers must ensure that buyers have access to a cancellation form without any hassle.

Returns Policy

Sellers must outline a clear returns policy for their consumers to view, detailing who is liable for any costs relating to returning items, as well as the company’s overall returns policy. This is one sellers don’t want to risk falling short with, as if it’s not clearly displayed, they themselves will bear the financial responsibility by default.


Any items that aren’t eligible for return (such as sealed goods e.g. software discs), should clearly state that they cannot be returned once the packaging has been removed. Similarly, this can often be the case for health and hygiene reasons too, in relation to some items of clothing.


Typically, when it comes to timeframes, the default delivery period is 30 days. However, under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, sellers must provide a timeline for any goods to be received.


Previously the Distance Selling VAT threshold only applied to revenue over £70,000 annually. This is no longer the case and businesses that sell goods overseas are now compelled to become VAT registered.

Let FastPay Lead the Way

Making sense of payments isn’t always easy. It can be tricky at the best of times for businesses to navigate their way through the rules and regulations associated with selling and purchasing goods or services.


And what’s more – bringing overseas markets into the mix can at times, further complicate the process.


The FastPay team works closely with UK businesses to reach maximum efficiency with automated and regular payment solutions. If you’d like to find out more about our Direct Debit Collection services, get in touch with us today

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