You have a legal obligation to give your customer a 14-day cooling off period

14-day cooling off – that’s what you have to give a customer when they agree to use your building services. At the point of purchase, you need to say in writing that the homeowner has the right to cancel the contract within 14 days without giving any reason.

Our quick Q & A explains the situation and offers you a simple, inexpensive solution, ContractsXpert.

What does the customer have to do to cancel?

They must put in writing their decision to stop the job, either in a letter or via email. You can give them a form to fill in, but it’s not essential.

What if they’ve given a deposit though?

Nothing changes. The deposit must be returned to them in full.

What if I don’t tell the customer about their rights?

Then they can cancel at any time in the next 12 months.

And if I do tell them at a later date?

They have 14 days to cancel from when you told them.

What if the customer wants us to start the job straightaway?

Great news. But they can still cancel in that time – however in this situation, they would have to pay you for the work-to-date. We would recommend you get them to sign an ‘Instruction to start work immediately’ form.

What if we start the job without the customer instructing us to?

Then the customer has the right to cancel the work and you would have to cover the costs of labour and materials in that time.

What’s the worst that could happen?

If you don’t tell the customer about their right to cancel with the 14-day cooling off period, you could lose money, have to pay an unlimited fine or even go to prison for up to 2 years. But let’s not dwell on that…

So what’s the legal jargon on this?

All traders must comply with ‘the consumer Contracts Regulations’ or to use the full title, ‘The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013’. These replace the previous Doorstep Selling Regulations. Local authority Trading Standards services are the ones who enforce the Regulations.

How will I find the time to put all of this paperwork together?

That’s where HBXL comes in. Our ContractsXpert software includes the contract itself (one for Small works and another for Subcontract), and four supporting documents:

  • Start work now
  • Notice of right to cancel
  • Cancellation form
  • Change of works form.

Tell the software about your project and it will take it from there. Of course if you have EstimatorXpress, all you need to do is drop the completed estimate file into ContractsXpert. It will then automatically distribute the information, saving you time and reducing any chance of mis-keying in information. All you then have to do is print off the relevant contract and documents, and present to the customer.

Let’s not forget the contract itself, which will make sure you get paid for the work you complete by the agreed date.

The software is great value at £199+VAT for an annual subscription or £399+VAT for a lifetime licence. What price peace of mind?

Please note, to sync ContractsXpert 2020 with EstimatorXpress you will need EstimatorXpress 2020.

Want to discuss contracts and the right to cancel further? Give the HBXL sales team a call on 0117 916 7898 or your Account Manager on 0117 916 7892.