Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Which UK on-line wine retailers are up to speed with new Consumer Contract Regulations?

Answer: a number of companies' T&Cs do not conform to new regs on extended cancellation period:

2013 Consumer Contracts Regulations 
Came into force Friday 13th June 2014

Last Friday (13.6.2014) the new 2013 Consumer Contract Regulations came into force. The new regulations have implications for all retailers selling on line or offering services on line across the EU. They put into the force Direective 2011/83/EU of the European Parliament and the Council of 25th October 2011. 

The Directive is intended to harmonise practices across the EU and to promote cross-border sales:   

'The cross-border potential of distance selling, which should be one of the main tangible results of the internal market, is not fully exploited. Compared with the significant growth of domestic distance sales over the last few years, the growth in cross-border distance sales has been limited. This discrepancy is particularly significant for Internet sales for which the potential for further growth is high. The cross-border potential of contracts negotiated away from business premises (direct selling) is constrained by a number of factors including the different national consumer protection rules imposed upon the industry.'

Doubtless a laudable objective but will, I fancy, be tough to put into practice. The difficulty of the task is illustrated by a quick check on cancellation period  offered by a selection of UK on-line wine retailers in their current Terms & Conditions.


The statutory cancellation period as set out in 2000 Distance Selling Regulations (in force from 31st October 2000 until 13th June 2014)

Cancellation period
(2) Where the supplier complies with regulation 8 (information on right to cancel etc.), the cancellation period ends on the expiry of the period of seven working days beginning with the day after the day on which the consumer
receives the goods.

Cancellation period under the new regulations (in force from 13th June 2014): 
'(3) If the contract is a sales contract and none of paragraphs (4) to (6) applies, the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the goods come into the physical possession of—
(a) the consumer, or
(b) a person, other than the carrier, identified by the consumer to take possession of them.'
(Notice that under the new regulations it is now 14 calendar days not working days after the day of delivery. Presumably 'calendar days' have been chosen as 'working days' are now difficult to define. Furthermore 14 working days in France would run from the end of April through to the beginning June due to the number of public holidays in May.

Paras 4-6 covers 'multiple lots or pieces of something are delivered on different days'. Here the cancellation period of 14 days starts the day after the last lot has been delivered.

The general rule is that customers must be now be refunded within 14 days of giving notice of cancellation.

En primeur sales exempt from right of cancellation.

Cancellation periods offered by a selection of UK merchants (as of 18.6.2014):

   Berry Bros & Rudd: within seven days of receipt of goods
– refund in 30 days 

'Return of Goods/Cancellation
Subject to the specific cancellation provisions below in relation to specific services, orders for goods (to be delivered) may be cancelled within 7 working days of receipt of goods. A full refund will be offered provided the goods remain in good condition and that the request to cancel is received in writing. Any cancelled order will be refunded within 30 days. A charge of £10 for collections will be payable. If returned wines are not deemed to be in a saleable condition, a re-delivery fee will also be charged. Contact us on 0800 280 2440 or email'

Farr Vintners:

 Farr Vintners: three days 

'5. Acceptance
You undertake to inspect all goods when collecting or immediately on delivery and to notify ourselves or the carrier forthwith of any shortage or damage or other deficiency. You will be deemed to have accepted the goods as satisfying your order three days after collection/delivery, and thereafter will not be entitled to reject wines for any reason.'


Laithwaites: 14 calendar days from the date of delivery

Cancellation and Refund

If you buy any of our wines and don't like a bottle, please see our Quality Control section below.

If you change your mind about some or all of your order, you may cancel your order up to and including 14 calendar days from the date of delivery of your order and we will arrange to collect (free of charge) the unwanted wines and reimburse the appropriate sum paid including delivery costs within 14 days from the day we receive the goods back or if earlier on the day on which you supply to us appropriate evidence of having sent back the products provided all the bottles are unopened and intact and the wine is in its original packaging.

Majestic Wine:

 Majestic: seven working days after delivery

Cancellations and complaints

You may cancel your order at any time until seven working days after delivery. Should you decide to cancel, all charges to you will be refunded as soon as the goods are returned in merchantable condition to your nearest store.

In the event of complaint please contact the store concerned if it refers to a particular order. Alternatively email giving as much detail as you can. All complaints will be acknowledged within 48 hours and you can expect a full resolution of your complaint within a further 72 hours. You will be kept informed if there is any delay beyond this. Each complaint will be treated as confidential and will be attended to by a senior manager or director.

Naked Wines:

 Naked Wines: no specific cancellation period 
mentioned though money back guarantee

'Cancelling an order

If you want to cancel your order for any reason, give us a bell on 01603 281800 as soon as possible after you've ordered, and we'll cancel it for you and give you your money back.

N.B. Because we offer Next Day Delivery as standard, it isn't always possible to cancel your order because our warehouse team move VERY quickly! But you can refuse to accept the wines when they arrive (just tell Parcelforce to return them to us). We'll then refund your money when the wine arrives back at our warehouse.


If you don't like a wine, or it's corked or damaged, then we'll give you a full refund.

Email us at OR call us on 01603 281800 and we'll sort it out for you.

N.B. If you have several bottles of the same wine that you want refunding, please don't open them as we'll come and collect them. We'll let you know when you get in touch.


 Oddbins: '7 day cooling off period from the 
day on which the Goods are delivered'
'refunded with 30 days of receipt of the returned goods'

'8.1 You have a 7 day cooling off period from the day on which the Goods are delivered to you to cancel your Order for any Goods purchased on our Website. During this time you may return Goods to us for a full refund. A full refund will be offered provided the goods are deemed by us to be in the same conditions as they were delivered to you and that the request to cancel is received in writing. Any cancelled Order will be refunded within 30 days of receipt by us of the returned goods. Where we collect Goods that you wish to return to us we will charge you the sum of £10. If returned Goods are not deemed by us to be in the same conditions as they were delivered to you, we will return the Goods to you and a re-delivery fee will be due and payable by you to us.'


Sainsbury's: 28 days following receipt

10.1 You have the right to cancel your order up to 28 days following receipt. This includes your right to cancel your order under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (exclusions apply).

10.2 Our refund policy extends to 28 days your rights under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 which requires us to provide you with goods in compliance with the contract and allows you, subject to Term 10.3 and 10.4 below  to cancel your distance contract with us without giving any reason (e.g. if your product is not wanted) within 14 days following the date of receipt of the goods.'   


 Tanners: seven day right of withdrawal from distance selling contracts
(timing of right of cancellation not specified)

Cancellation of Orders
You have a seven day right of withdrawal from distance selling contracts. If you wish to cancel please notify us in writing or by using our contact form. Please note that a charge may be made to cover the cost of collecting goods in the event of a cancelled order that has already been delivered.


Tesco: 14 days following the receipt of an item

'Cancellation of order
You have the right to cancel your order up to 14 days following the receipt of an item by contacting our Customer Services department on 0800 323 4080.

If the item(s) have not been dispatched we will cancel the order and we will refund payment in accordance with our refund policy in section 7 below. If the item(s) have been dispatched to you and we are unable to stop the delivery, you can refuse to sign for the delivery so that the item(s) are returned to us and we will refund in accordance with our refund policy in section 7 below. Alternatively, if you have already taken delivery please follow the procedure for returns in section 8 below.

Sometimes you may not be able to part cancel an order. If this is the case, Customer Services will explain this to you.'


Waitrose: 14 days after the day of delivery

Cancellation rights:
Please note that you are entitled to cancel this contract if you so wish, provided that you exercise your right no longer than 14 days after the day on which you receive the goods or services. 

Wine Investment Association:

 WIA: week's cooling off period from when sale is agreed
9.2 at the point at which the sale is agreed and prior to the contract being formed, the Member will offer the customer a week’s cooling off period in which the customer may decide to cancel the purchase and not to enter into the contract. The Member will accept such cancellations with good grace. 

The Wine Society:

 Wine Society: cancellation: fourteen days of receipt of goods refund within 14 days

'1.10 Right to Cancel

If you change your mind about some or all of your order, contact us within fourteen days of receipt of goods and we will arrange to collect the unwanted wines (free of charge) and reimburse the appropriate sum paid within 14 days of cancellation, provided it is returned as sold in teh original packaging. Different terms apply to wines bought in Opening Offers (see 2.7 below).

If we fail to deliver on the specified date offered at the time of order, please let us know; you may cancel the order and The Society will reimburse the full price paid.'


Yapp Brothers:

 Yapp Brothers: up to 7 days after the delivery

Cancellation of an order is possible in part or in full, for up to 7 days after the delivery is made.  We will then arrange collection of the wine and reimbursement of the appropriate sum.


Where the customer has not been properly informed of their rights the statutory period of the right of cancellation can be extended to a year after the normal 14 days allowed. Furthermore any contract is not considered binding on the customer untill all of the required information has been given to them in a 'durable form'. 

From this selection of on-line wine retailers it appears that the larger companies, especially supermarkets, have made the necessary changes to their Terms & Conditions. However, many of the smaller companies have not updated their T&Cs and in some instances have not conformed with the 2000 Distance Selling Regulations let alone the new regime.  


Anonymous said...

Fine piece of analyis Jim.

Interesting is it not that some of the terms referred to 7 days, not working days, so were not correct even under the old law (leaving bank holidays aside, 7 working days will always be 9 calendar days, but more like a fortnight in cases purcahsed just before Xmas).

Unsurprising I suppose that the bigger organisations tend to be more on the ball - they probably have their own legal departments.


Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Graham. Yes a surprising number of errors. Natural that the largest companies are up to date, though I would have thought Majestic might have amended their T&Cs.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jim,

Excellent piece.

Incidentally, Oddbins has updated their Terms and Conditions to reflect the change now.

Jim's Loire said...

Hi Anon

Many thanks for this. Will check out the Oddbins site for their amended T&Cs.