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Distance selling of wine — cancellation period increased, en primeur now exempted

The EU Consumer Rights Directive 2011 makes important changes for those involved in distance selling of wine or spirits (i.e. business to consumer, either via the internet, email, phone or mail order).  In particular, it increases the period for which the consumer has the right to cancel the sale contract from 7 to 14 days after receiving the goods.

The Regulations implementing the Directive in the UK will come into force on 13th June 2014.  For UK distance sale contracts made on or after that date the statutory cancellation period will be 14 days. The Regulations make a number of other changes which apply to distance sales, in relation to:

  • Pre-contract information requirements
  • Obtaining consent for payment to be made
  • Confirming formation of the contract.
  • Delivery and passing of risk
  • Other matters relating to cancellation
  • Use of premium rate telephone numbers

En primeur sales now exempted from cancellation right

The Regulations exempt en primeur sales from the provisions giving consumers the right to cancel.  This actually applies to all alcoholic beverages, where the following conditions are met:

  • their price is agreed when the sales contract is concluded,
  • delivery of them can only take place after 30 days, and
  • their value is dependent on fluctuations in the market which cannot be controlled by the trader.

Online wine sellers should ensure that their website conditions of sale – and the processes by which sale contracts are formed and documented – are compliant with the new Regulations.  Please get in touch if you need advice on what exactly will be required.