Complete Clarity Solicitors


Contractual Rights and Doorstep Traders

In a decision that has been welcomed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Supreme Court has recently ruled that a consumer who entered into a doorstep selling contract was entitled to cancel his contract and get his money back when a trader failed to tell him about his legal right to cancel.

The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal for all United Kingdom civil cases. In this case the English Court of Appeal had ruled that a consumer who paid £1,000 in advance to a removal company was not entitled to obtain a refund, because the trader had not given him any notice of his legal right to cancel the contract, and so this right had not been triggered.

The CMA’s predecessor body, the Office of Fair Trading, intervened in the case in the Supreme Court because of concerns that the decision of the Court of Appeal could be misused, for example, by unscrupulous doorstep traders to take unfair advantage of consumers by not giving them notice of the right to cancel and persuading them to pay over large sums of money in advance – and then refusing to pay this back if the consumer tried to cancel.

In deciding that the consumer was entitled to cancel the contract at any time and obtain a refund, the Supreme Court’s judgment clarifies the law and fills an important gap for doorstep selling contracts, says the CMA.

“This judgment is good news for consumers and an important reminder to businesses to give their consumers notice of their cancellation rights where the law requires it,” commented Nisha Arora of the CMA.

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