January 21st, 2013

Court of Appeal considers the 2008 Cancellation of Contracts Regulations:

The Court of Appeal determined the application of the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 in the case of Robertson v Swift [2012] EWCA Civ 1794.  The contract concerned an agreement between the Claimant removal company and the Defendant customer.  The agreement was entered into over the course of two visits to the Defendant’s home and did not provide for the requisite cancellation notice.  The Defendant sought to cancel the agreement within 7 days after he found a cheaper quote from another company.  The Claimant sued for its cancellation charge, as set out in the agreement and succeeded at trial and on the Defendant’s appeal in the County Court.  Whilst the Court of Appeal expressed regret in reaching its decision, it found for the Defendant on the basis that the consequences of failing to give notice of the right to cancel in the agreement are clear and the contract was unenforceable in law.  The Court of Appeal dismissed the Defendant’s appeal for the return of the £1,000.00 he had paid by way of deposit on the basis that the Defendant was not entitled to a refund under paragraph 10(1) of the 2008 Regulations and had not suggested any other legal basis upon which he was entitled to a refund.  The Court of Appeal expressed a hope that the Regulations would be amended to avoid such harsh consequences for removals companies, as they were often small businesses and needed to attend the customer’s house to assess the work required.  Further, they may have to incur costs and turn away work in the cancellation period (in the instant case, the agreement was entered into on 28.07.2011 and the Defendant’s move was scheduled for 05.08.2011).




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