KNOWLEDGE BASE Billing Regulations In The UK

 

On March 29, 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, which formally started the process whereby the UK will leave the European Union. Article 50 was just the beginning of the withdrawal process, as it allows the UK two years to negotiate its leave with the other EU member states. UK laws and regulations did not and will not change overnight. We will update our site with any relevant changes and information as it becomes available. You can learn more on the UK government site.

 

Billing Regulations In The UK

 

Invoicing

When you sell a customer a product or service, you are required to give him an invoice if you are both registered for Value Added Tax (VAT), i.e., a business to business transaction. An invoice is not the same as a receipt. The invoice must clearly display the word “invoice” and include the following:

  • a unique identification number;

  • your company name, address, and contact information;

  • the company name and address of the customer you are invoicing;

  • a clear description of what you are charging for (good or service);

  • the date the goods or service were provided (supply date);

  • the date of the invoice;

  • the date the payment is due;

  • the amount(s) being charged;

  • VAT amount, if applicable; and

  • the total amount owed.

More detailed information about VAT Invoice requirements can be found here.

 

Returns and Refunds

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 and the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013, consumers may be entitled to a return, replacement, repair, and/or compensation if a good is faulty, not as described, or unfit for its purpose. Consumers are also entitled to a refund and/or compensation if the seller had no legal right to sell the good(s).

 

In most other situations, e.g., when a customer buys a jacket in the wrong size, he changes his mind, or an item is an unwanted gift, there is generally no right to return the good(s).

 

 

In general, there is no requirement that you have or state (written or otherwise) your return/refund policy. You are allowed to provide more return/refund rights to your customers. If you do offer more rights than legally required (generally only if the good is faulty, not as described, or unfit for its purpose), you can impose conditions, such as:

  • a requirement that the return be accompanied by the original receipt;

  • a requirement that the return be unused and in unopened packaging;

  • a deadline for returns; or

  • an offer to exchange or an offer of a credit note, but not a refund.

You can ask your customer for proof that he bought the  item from you. This could be a sales receipt, a bank statement, or the packaging. You only have to accept returns from the person who bought the item from you.

You should ensure that your refund policy does not mislead consumers about their legal rights. It is therefore good practice to state this explicitly, i.e., 'this policy is offered in addition to your legal rights'.

 

The following would be an acceptable returns policy:

Your legal rights: When you buy goods from a business, you legally have a number of rights as a consumer. These include the right to claim a refund, replacement, repair and/or compensation if the goods are faulty or misdescribed.

Our policy: In addition to your legal rights, we also allow you to return goods if you simply change your mind. Please return the unused goods to us with the original receipt within 14 days and we will offer you an exchange or a credit note.

                                 

Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, it is a criminal offense to mislead a consumer about her rights. The following are examples of statements that are likely to mislead consumers about their rights:

  • ‘No refunds.’

  • ‘Good can only be exchanged.’

  • ‘Only credit notes will be given for faulty goods.’

  • ‘Sold as is.’ or ‘Sold as seen.’

  • ‘No refunds except when goods are faulty.” (This statement is illegal because there are a number of situations in which a customer can claim a refund on goods that are not faulty, e.g., goods are not as described).

 

Goods Bought in a Shop

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods must be as described, fit for the purpose, and of satisfactory quality. During the expected lifespan of the product:

Consumers do not have a legal right to a refund or replacement simply because they change their mind.

 

Services Paid for in a Shop

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015:

 

Goods Ordered at Home (Online, Mail, and Telephone)

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013:

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, goods must be as described, fit for the purpose, and of satisfactory quality. During the expected lifespan of the product:

For goods ordered at home, you must offer a refund to your customers if they have told you within 14 days of receiving their good(s) that they want to cancel the order. The consumer then has 14 days to return the good(s) to you. You must provide the refund within 14 days of receiving the good(s) back. The consumer does not have to provide a reason for the return.

 

Services Ordered at Home

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013:

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015:

 

Digital Content

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013:

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, digital content must be as described, fit for the purpose, and of satisfactory quality and:

VAT Invoice Requirements

Consumer Rights Act 2015

Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013

Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008

Which? Consumer Rights Act 2015

KNOWLEDGE BASE Billing Regulations In The UK