Once you have decided whether or not the Regulations apply to your consumer contract and what you are selling, if the Regulations do apply, you’ll then need to work out whether the sale is an on-premises, off-premises or distance sale.
This is because the Regulations require more of traders when making sales contracts off-premises or at a distance – basically, away from the trader’s business premises. If this is the case, you must give more information and sometimes cancellation rights.
In practice the most tricky distinction is between on-premises and off-premises contracts.
The Regulations says that an on-premises contract is one that is neither an off-premises nor a distance contract. However, this isn’t particularly helpful from a practical perspective. Basically, if you sell goods on your 'business premises', you will be entering into an on-premises contract. 'Business premises' are immovable premises for permanent business or moveable premises (eg a stall) for usual business.
You won’t need terms and conditions for day to day items sold on-premises – eg milk, household items, etc. You should provide terms and conditions on the back of your invoices if you sell higher-value items – eg, antiques.
Here, the Regulations are a bit more specific. Here is the legal bit, which ways that an on-premises contract is:
made while the parties are with each other away from the trader’s business premises
made following an offer made by the consumer while the parties are with each other away from the trader’s business premises
made on the trader’s business premises or through any distance communication immediately after the consumer was personally and individually addressed while the parties are with each other away from the trader’s business premises
made during an excursion organised by the trader with the aim or effect of selling goods or services to the consumer
This all sounds rather complicated but the main thing to consider is where your contract is negotiated and made, rather than where it is performed. If you basically agree sales with your customers on a face to face basis away from your business premises, you will be entering into an off-premises contract. The classic example is doorstep selling.
However, a business which visits a consumer’s home and later sends a contract or quotation for the consumer to decide upon sometime later won’t enter into an off-premises contract unless situation (b) is applicable (ie the customer has made the offer, which is probably unusual). This will be relevant for home-improvement businesses. Though it may sound strange, such a contract would be an on-premises contract by default.
If you are making off-premises sales, Ask a lawyer for the appropriate terms and conditions, as the Rocket Lawyer terms and conditions do not currently cover off-premises contracts.
A distance sale contract is one that is finalised without any face to face contact, for example by internet, mail order, phone or television.
Rocket Lawyer offers template distance terms and conditions for distance sales via the internet only. If you are selling goods by some other means – eg by phone – Ask a lawyer for help in drafting appropriate terms and conditions.
If you have any problem deciding where your contract is concluded, Ask a lawyer.