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The new Distance Selling and Labelling Regulations – the implications for Wine Retailers

In June 2014 new “distance selling” regulations took effect (see our News item 29 May 2014).  The official BIS guidance gave the impression that this was only a consolidation of pre-existing rules and requirements.  On close examination, however, the new regulations place extensive and onerous obligations on all sellers of wine by distance methods.  Moreover, since 13th December 2014, distance sellers have been further burdened by additional requirements under the new EU Labelling Regulation (News item 12 November 2014).

This is a real regulatory double-whammy for anyone who sells wine to consumers online or by any other distance method.

What are “distance sales”?

Sales to consumers which are concluded online or by phone, email, fax or mail order, where the seller and consumer are not physically together at the seller’s business premises.

Who are “consumers”?

“Consumer” is defined as an individual acting for purposes which are wholly or mainly outside that individual’s trade, business, craft or profession.  Someone who buys fine wine for investment or speculative purposes, i.e. primarily intending to resell the wine at some point, rather than consume it, is a consumer within this definition, provided that buying in that way is not his/her trade, business, etc.

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