In the guide

On-premises selling covers the sale of goods, services or digital content from your business premises

For example:

  • shop
  • mobile premises that are routinely located in the same place
  • market stall 

This is a complicated area and more detail is provided in the 'Consumer contracts - on-premises sales' In-depth Guide.

If you sell at a distance (online, for example) or away from your business premises, you will also need to read the other relevant In-depth Guides - 'Consumer contracts - distance sales' and 'Consumer contracts - off-premises sales' - to avoid tripping up over this legislation. 

This downloadable scenarios document will help you decide where contracts are made.

So what's it all about? Broadly speaking:

  • you must provide consumers with certain information before the contract is made
  • you must obtain the consumer's clear agreement if you want to charge for additional items (no pre-ticked boxes in the contract)
  • customer helplines must cost no more than the basic rate
  • you have obligations on delivery, including the point at which the consumer becomes responsible for the goods 
Selling and supplying goods, digital content and services
You have obligations if you sell or supply consumers with goods or digital content that are not of satisfactory quality, not as described or not fit for purpose, or if you provide services that are below standard. You can find out more in the following Quick Guides: 'Goods', 'Digital' and 'Services'

What's not covered?

The Regulations are broad but there are some contracts they don't cover. These include package travel, timeshare and frequent regular deliveries of the same consumables, such as milk, to the customer's home. If you don't know whether you're covered, check the 'Consumer contracts - on-premises sales' In-depth Guide for a full list as there are important exemptions.

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Information you must give

There is some very specific information you must give to consumers in a clear and understandable way before you enter into an agreement with them. This includes information on pricing, your trading address and complaint-handling policy.

The In-depth Guide has a table detailing the requirements.

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Additional payments

You must always get the consumer's clear agreement if you want to charge an additional payment for something that is linked to the main contract - for example, gift-wrapping or quick delivery.

This means that you can't have a default option - such as special service add-ons already written into the contract - that makes it difficult for consumers to avoid payment. Consumers who have not agreed will not have to pay, and if they have paid they can claim a refund from you.

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Helpline phone charges

If you provide a telephone helpline for consumers to contact you about goods, services or digital content they have bought, you can only charge the 'basic rate'. This means the normal geographic or mobile rate. Consumers who have paid more than the basic rate can claim the extra from you.

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Delivery & risk

Unless you both agree otherwise, you must deliver the goods to the consumer. This should be on the agreed delivery date, without undue delay or not more than 30 days from the day the contract was made, depending on the contract.

You remain responsible for the goods until the consumer, or someone he has nominated, takes possession of them.

For more detailed information please see the In-depth Guides below. Once you've finished, make sure you look at the full range of Quick Guides to see whether there are any other areas of law that affect your business.

Before you start
Make sure you choose your location using the drop-down list at the top of the page. The In-depth Guides provide country-specific information as some laws are different in England, Scotland and Wales, and some are enforced differently
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In-depth guidance

This is a general guide and you may well need to know more; take a look below where we've listed our In-depth Guides on specific topics related to on-premises sales

General

Consumer contracts – on-premises sales

The rules when you form contracts on your business premises, including information requirements

Other

Consumer protection from unfair trading

When dealing with consumers you must ensure that you act fairly; you must provide accurate information and avoid business practices that are unfair, misleading or aggressive

Returns policies

Find out when your customer is entitled to a refund, replacement or repair

Single-use carrier bags

Large retailers are required to charge for most new single-use carrier bags they supply

The sale & supply of goods

Understand what your obligations are – under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – when a consumer buys goods from you

Unfair contract terms

Contract terms are not binding on consumers unless they are fair

Digital content

Understand what your obligations are – under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – when you supply digital content to a consumer

The supply of services

Understand what your obligations are – under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 – when you supply services to a consumer

Feedback

Consumer enquiries from England, Scotland and Wales are handled by the Citizens Advice Consumer Service who can be contacted by telephone on 03454 04 05 06. Consumer enquiries in Northern Ireland are handled by ConsumerLine who can be contacted by telephone on 0300 1236262. Call charges may vary.

Business enquiries are dealt with by your local council. Use the Chartered Trading Standards Institute's postcode finder to locate your local trading standards team.