The cooling off period on my car purchase has been frozen: consumer rights lawyer DEAN DUNHAM responds
I bought an Audi A1 from a Swansea dealer. Since I live almost 200 miles away, the entire deal was done online.
I saw the vehicle on your website and electronically signed the purchase documentation. Four days later the car was delivered to my house on a trailer while I was away on business.
Upon my return I quickly realized that I had made a mistake with the car as it was not really suitable for my needs. My wife then told me I could return it under the 14 day ‘cooling off’ terms and get a refund.
I called the dealer but it says I am now outside the 14 day period so I cannot exercise this right. Is this correct?
Terry Cartright, via email.
Second thoughts? Buying a car online qualifies as a distance sale, which means you have a 14-day cooling-off period, during which you can return the goods and demand a full refund.
Dean Dunham replies: When you buy goods (including vehicles) online or from anywhere other than the merchant’s usual place of business, it’s classified as a “remote sale.”
Distance selling is covered by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, commonly known as the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which state that consumers have a 14 day “cooling off” period, during which you can change your mind. , return the products and demand a full refund.
If you do not exercise the right within 14 days of receipt of the goods, you lose it, unless the merchant has not informed you of your rights of withdrawal before you conclude the contract.
In this sense, the Consumer Contract Regulations oblige merchants to provide consumers with certain information prior to the contract with distance sales, including the reflection period.
If the merchant does not do this, the penalty for them is that the 14 day cooling off period is extended to 12 months.
You can find it in the fine print, which is easy to miss when you’re filling out forms online.
However, the merchant has an obligation to make this information prominent so you don’t miss it, so hiding it in the fine print will often not be appropriate.
If you are informed of your rights verbally, that is enough; but the trader has to be able to prove it with a recording of the conversation.
Help, Eon has called the bailiffs.
I have a dispute with EON about my electric bill because I don’t agree with the amount it says I owe.
I have now been told that my complaint has been closed and my file has been turned over to the debt collection department.
What can I do now, since I don’t want bailiffs knocking on my door, but I won’t pay because the bill is wrong?
Wendy Ellison, via email.
Dean Dunham replies: If you haven’t received it yet, ask for a ‘deadlock letter’, which is a document that sets out the provider’s final position on your complaint.
Armed with this letter, you should file a complaint with the Energy Ombudsman. Be sure to provide a clear explanation of why you believe the bill is incorrect, and provide any supporting evidence and information you have.
It’s also a good idea to provide copies of past bills that show how much your supply has previously cost during the same time period. Remember that energy costs have increased in recent times.
You have not told me how far back the disputed invoice is. But if when you received the invoice it was for a period greater than 12 months, your provider should not have sent it to you.
Therefore, you cannot be charged for gas or electricity used more than 12 months ago if you were not billed correctly or disclosed to you by statement.
This includes situations where a provider increases your direct debit because it was set too low.
- Write to Dean Dunham, Money Mail, Scottish Daily Mail, 20 Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 6DB or email email@example.com. The Daily Mail cannot accept any legal responsibility for the answers given.