Focus Commercial: What is a mail-order order form?


A mail order form must be included each time you send a mail order catalog (i.e. when a customer places an order by mail). Certain information is legally required to be included on a mail order form, and ensuring legal compliance helps maintain good customer relations and your business reputation.

You must attach your general conditions of sale to the mail order form (you will find models here).

If you use our model mail order form, it also offers options to direct customers to your privacy policy URL or attach your privacy policy to the form itself.

Information provided on the mail order form

Your mail order form should include the following information:

1. Payment Information How the customer can pay and what payment methods you accept.

2. Delivery information Delivery options, including delivery costs (see Customer service during mail order for more information on your delivery obligations).

3. Possibilities for the customer to consent to various elements

Your form should include checkboxes (none of which should be pre-checked) regarding:

  • confirmation from the customer that they have read and understood your terms and conditions (for templates, see Terms and Conditions – Sale of Goods, Terms and conditions – Services and Terms and Conditions – Sale of Goods and Services);
  • if you wish to use the customer’s contact details in order to send them marketing material (eg new catalogues) in the future, you may need to include an option for them to consent to receiving direct marketing from you in the future – see Obtain consent for direct marketing when will you need consent for this, and how to obtain it;
  • digital content – ​​if you intend to let a consumer download or stream the content within 14 days of their order, you must obtain their express consent and acknowledgment that they will lose their legal right to cancel as a result; and
  • any additional services or items that the customer has the option to pay for (for example, taking out insurance with jewelry). You must obtain the customer’s express consent to pay for these additional items, which means the customer must tick a box to positively indicate that they want the additional service. If you do not obtain this consent (for example, the default position is that jewelry comes with insurance that costs extra), you may be required to reimburse the customer for the extra cost.

Our mail order form template is customizable to your business.

In addition to providing the appropriate information on your mail order form, you also need to provide certain information to customers as part of your catalog itself. This is discussed further below.

Information required in your catalog

There are certain legal information you must provide in your catalog if you are selling to consumers.

This can be broken down as follows:

1. Information about your businessYour customers need to know the basic details of your business and how to get in touch with you.

2. Information on customer rightsIt is suggested to do this in a standard set of terms and conditions to be produced in the catalog.

3. Product InformationYou must provide it on the product pages.

Our questions and answers about Mail-order selling provides additional guidance on these requirements.

Although you are not required to provide most of this information to business customers (who are not consumers), you may not be sure whether they are a business or a consumer. who orders through your catalog, unless you only sell to professional customers. In most cases, you must therefore ensure that this information is systematically made available to all customers.

To see Checklist of information to include to ensure your catalog complies with the law for a quick guide to legal compliance for your catalog.

Sending an order confirmation

Once you have received and processed a customer’s mail order, you must send them an order confirmation. This must be done as soon as possible and, at the latest, before you deliver your goods to the customer. Confirmation can be sent by mail or e-mail.

Your confirmation should include the following:

  • any information required in your catalog or mail order form that you have not already sent to the customer;
  • how and when the goods will be delivered or the digital content provided; and
  • where you have sold digital content to the customer and they have accepted your immediate supply and they lose their right to cancel as a result, you must provide confirmation of that consent and acknowledgment.

To find out what to do if a customer orders something that is out of stock, see Customer service during mail order.

The content of this article is current as of the date of publication. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. ©Sparqa Limited 2022. All rights reserved.

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