The Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004 are similar to The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 concerning the protection of consumers who purchase products and services 'at a distance'.
But these particular regulations cover financial products and services...
The Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004 give effect in the United Kingdom to Directive 2002/65/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 concerning the distance marketing of consumer financial services and amending Council Directive 90/619/EEC and Directive 97/7/EC and Directive 98/27/EC (O.J. L 271, 9.10.2002, p.16).
The Directive covers contracts for retail financial services (banking, insurance, payment and investment services, including pension funds) that are negotiated at a distance (e.g. by telephone, fax or over the Internet), i.e. by any means which do not require the simultaneous physical presence of the parties to the contract.
Right to reflect
The Directive gives the consumer the right to reflect (a 'cooling off' period) before concluding a contract with a supplier. The supplier is required to transmit a draft contract to the consumer, in writing or on a durable medium (e.g. floppy disk, CD-ROM or e-mail), including all the contractual terms and conditions. The reflection period is 14 days (30 days for a pension), during which all the terms and conditions remain valid. The parties are nonetheless free to agree on a longer period or to negotiate other conditions.