What are distance sales?

Distance sales are those where a trader, such as a dealer, makes exclusive use  of distance communication (for example the internet, e-mail or telephone) up to and including the point at which a contract is entered into with the customer.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, online vehicle purchase, delivery and collection services provided at a distance allowed many dealers to continue operating while their forecourts were closed. Distance sales regulations have therefore become an increasingly important area for SAF learners to be competent in.

What regulates distance sales?

Distance sales in the UK of most goods and services, where the customer is a consumer, are governed by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, which came into force on 13 June 2014.

Among other things, the Consumer Contracts Regulations set out:

  • the information a trader must give to a consumer before and after making a sale;
  • the right for consumers to change their minds when buying at a distance or off-premises;
  • delivery times and passing of risk; and
  • a ban on consumers having to pay more than the basic rate for post-contract customer helplines.