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Last edited 14 Feb 2021
A consumer contract is a legally-binding agreement that is made between a seller and a consumer – a person who purchases goods or services for personal use. These contracts typically cover finished products although they can cover the sale of raw materials and services.
Contracts can be made:
- By verbal agreements
- In written form
- As silent contracts eg, payment at a supermarket self-service checkout where a contract is made even though no words are spoken and nothing is signed.
The structure and appearance of some traditional consumer contracts may mean they can look slightly intimidating to consumers, however consumers are provided some protection under law. Generally, parties are free to agree to any contract terms which they deem to be acceptable. However, consumer laws regulate terms or provisions that may be deemed unfair to consumers or be open to abuse by sellers.
- The consumer taking a product to the checkout.
- The consumer contracts to place an order from a brochure.
- The consumer views a website and clicks ‘add to my basket’.
- The accepts a quote for a product or service.
- Confirms the goods as sold by passing them through the till.
- Sends an email receipt to confirm the sale.
- Accepts the order and payment for a brochure transaction.
- Of the right age (ie not too young).
- Be sound in mind (not mentally ill).
- Not be under the sway of narcotics.
- The information a trader must give to a consumer before and after making a sale.
- How that information should be provided.
- The right for consumers to change their minds when purchasing from a distance or off-premises.
- Delivery times and passing of risk.
- A prohibition on any additional payments which appear as a default option.
- A prohibition on consumers having to pay in excess of the basic rate for post-contract customer help lines.
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