Consumer protection

Supporting detail:

Implementing the Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83/EU

The Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) was passed by the EU in October 2011. The CRD comes into force in all EU member states in 2014. The CRD aims to simplify consumer rights in certain important areas, mostly relating to buying and selling.

Before you buy:

  • consumers should get clear and comprehensive information before they buy: this also applies to ‘distance selling’ – selling over the phone or the internet and to purchases where a trader visits the consumer at home

While you’re buying:

After you buy:

  • where you’ve bought remotely (on the internet, by phone) or at home, you should be given the information, including total costs, in writing, and if you have cancellation rights, should be given a cancellation form

  • if you’ve bought away from a trader’s place of business - over the internet, or in your own home for example – you get the right to an increased ‘cooling off period’ of 14 days after buying

  • where the seller offers a helpline number, you should not be obliged to pay more than the basic rate to contact them about something you have bought

Additional payments:

  • no additional payments unless the consumer expressly agrees to them, which means that boxes authorising additional payments should not already be ticked for you

As this is an EU directive, intended to align and simplify rules across all member states, member states don’t have much flexibility on how they should put it into law in their own country.

The government consulted on the areas where we do have flexibility. The consultation on implementation of the CRD closed on 1 November 2012.

We then published a response to the consultation with detailed proposals on implementing the directive and asked for comments on our draft regulations by 11 October 2013. You can view our analysis of these comments (PDF, 306KB, 22 pages) . We also updated the impact assessment (PDF, 394KB, 28 pages) in light of these comments.

We have now published the final regulations (PDF, 285KB, 31 pages) and order (PDF, 45.8KB, 2 pages) . Business must comply with these regulations from 13 June 2014.

Guidance on the regulations (PDF, 549KB, 26 pages) is available. Further information for business is available at the Trading Standards Institute guidance for business or contact your local trading standards. Free help and advice is also available through the Business Support helpline. Consumers can get further help through Citizens Advice.

These regulations are part of a wider, fundamental reform of consumer law, including the draft Consumer Rights Bill, which aims to make consumers better informed and better protected when they’re buying.