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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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What is the official defiition of the phrase conclusion of

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What is the official defiition of the phrase conclusion of contract when applied to an agreement for the change of a srvices provider under the Consumer protection (Distance Selling Regulations) Act ? Whn does the 7 day cancellation period start ?

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Not immediately as this could take some time. would it be possible to come back to this matter tommorow afternoon GMT

Yes, no problem. come back when you like. I will be here.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Jo C.

I thought my question was quite specific, however it seems that you require some background to the reasons for my question.


In early March my brother received a cold call from a company known as Italk Affiliate Telecommunications Ltd. of Hove in Sussex, offering a telephone and broadband package. There was a follow up call from them on 20th March. My brother listened to what they had to offer and felt that it sounded like a good idea at the time, and so provided his bank details so that a direct debit facility could be set up. He can not remember much of what was said in this conversation. With this agrement to accept, would a contract have been concluded at that time, bearing in mind there was no written information ?


A few days later he received a small booklet from them outlining the package together with a direct debit mandate. The booklet stated that the swith over would take place on 4th April. There were no terms & contiditions included in or with the booklet, nor was there any information about rights to cancel or the consequences of such action.


On 4th April our telephone and broadband service were not working, this may have been an unfortunate co-incidence where no blame or responsibility can be attributed, however it caused us to ask ourselves if this was a wise move. I managed to get the line re-instated on 8th April after a number of conversations with Italk and our previous supplier, British Telecom. I asked Italk to cancel the arrangement and revert the service back to BT, they said that this was not possible as we were in a 24 month contract with them. I then contacted BT and asked them to make the cancellation and reversion which they did the following day with the switch over being on 29th April.


I received an invoice dated 11th April for 1 month line rental at £15.00 which was taken by direct debit. As the mandate had been activated, we were then able to cancel it. (The agreement was for a telephone and broadband service at £32.50 per month, the broadband element was not activated and has remained with BT throughout)


I received a copy of their terms & conditions with a letter from them dated 11th April, i.e. after the cancellation. I also received a letter from them dated 15th April confirming that they had been notified of the reversion.


On 19th May I received an invoice from them for a cancellation fee of £126.50 which I am in dispute about. It is not a great amount, but there is a principal at stake. Is this amount due, was there ever a legal contract and if so when did it and the 7 day cancellation period begin?


I am now getting daily telephone calls from them, demanding payment with threats of debt collectors.


The start date depends on the type of contract.

With goods, it runs from the date upon which you receive the goods essentially because the purpose of the DSR is to allow people to inspect the goods.

With services though it runs from seven days from the date of agreement which would here be the 20th March.

You can contract out of that provision by agreeing to services beginning earlier during the cooling off period but that appears not to be the case here.

The absence of written evidence is a non issue with contracts. Normally contracts are not reduced to writing. In any event though, they are probably saying there was online information.

Its quite unlikely they have a claim for this sum as a cancellation fee though as it just doesn't represent their loss. They have a lost profits claim for the remaining months due under the contract which may be less or may be more.

Its very unlikely they will sue over it. Its not worth the manpower.

What they may do though is add a default to your credit account and they are hard to remove. That only matters if you have a good history and you are likely to borrow money in the next 6 years.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Jo C.

Thank you for your responce received yesterday. I did write a reply but unfortunately it disappeared from my screen, so I don't know if it went through so I will try to repeat it.


Your opinion that the contract was concluded on the day of the telephone call when the offer was accepted seems rather strange as the supplier would not have had time to comply with the written information required under regulation 8 of the act.


From information I have found the rgulations require a supplier to:


1. Give consumers certain information prior to conclusion of the contract.

2. Give consumers confirmation of the prior information in writing or in another durable medium which is available and accessible to the consumer (Email is an acceptable medium for this but displaying the information on a web page is not).

3. Give consumers certain additional information (e.g. in respect of cancellation rights).

4. Refund consumers within a certain time period.

5. Perform the contract within a certain time period.


In your opinion, is the statement regarding web pages at 2. above, correct or otherwise as this would have a bearing on this matter ?


I agree with your thoughts that it would not be worth their time and efforts to persue this matter, however we will have to see how they respond. Apparently they have a reputation for bullying tactics.


Yours sincerely,


Kenneth Watts.

They are under those obligations but they will be saying they did that online. That is their standard response.

Time runs from the date of agreement.
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