On 4 July 2019, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy published its first ever statutory report on the implementation of the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (the Regulations).

The Regulations implement the EU Consumer Rights Directive. The Regulations seek to do this in the UK by setting out:

  • the information which a trader must give to a consumer before and after making a sale;
  • how that information should be given;
  • the right for consumers to change their minds when buying at a distance or off-premises;
  • a prohibition on any additional payments which appear as a default option; and
  • a prohibition on consumers having to pay more than the basic phone rate for calling post-contract customer helplines.

The statutory report follows a call for evidence (CfE) that ran from 7 March to 1 May 2019 that sought detailed consideration of specific aspects of the Regulations that relate to:

  • information to be provided pre-contract by traders in a range of circumstances;
  • rights to withdraw from and cancellation of the contract; and
  • prevention of hidden costs.

The CfE also asked general questions including those relating to awareness of rights and enforcement challenges.

The statutory report concludes that:

  • the generally held view of those responding to the CfE has been that the Regulations continue to meet the objectives for which they were established;
  • there is little scope to change the substantive content or scope of the Regulations whilst the UK remains bound by EU law; and
  • many respondents to the CfE endorsed and emphasised the importance of the policy work on the challenges facing vulnerable consumers.