Is the 14 day cooling-off period applicable for association memberships?

We are a not-for-profit organisation and are planning to offer memberships.

The membership benefits would include access to industry updates, jobs, resources, contacts and a private forum. A member can fill in an online form and pay online/set up direct debit for a 12 month subscription to get access to this member environment following a quick validation.

Can they change their mind within the 14 days cooling offperiod and cancel the subscription? And will it be legitimate in our case to defend that (see below). I have read the current consumer contracts and cancellation laws but unclear with its implications in our case. 

The reason for the query is that we have invested time, effort and money to accumulate information and contacts that we want members to benefit from but do not want someone to take it away with them for free by gaining access to the membership area and then cancelling the membership within a few days.

Thank you.

Claire Hopkins

663 viewsconsumer law

Alasdair Taylor's Answer

In legal terms, this is likely to be treated a service (rather than a digital product), and – in relation to B2C contracts entered into at a distance – the services provisions of the Consumer Contracts Regulations will apply (in the UK):

 Under Reg 36(4), however, the customer can be required to pay a proportional amount for the service:

See our subscriptions website T&Cs template for some appropriate text:

NB If the service is provided B2B, these Regs do not apply. 

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