A few days ago I ordered 100 Euros using a travel agents website, to be picked up in their store and paid for them in GBP by debit card. I noticed just after that they aren't open on Sundays, meaning I won't be able to collect them before my trip. I emailed the company to ask them to cancel the order the next day, and they replied 2 days later saying that they can't accept cancellations.

Do they have a right to do this? I thought that I had a right to cancel any purchase I make online. Presumably if not, I'll have to sell the euros back using the worse exchange rate they give for that, which doesn't seem right.

  • 1
    I would strongly consider if you actually need to change the euros back to pounds sterling. Are you likely to travel to Europe in the future? If so I'd put them in a safe place instead - either an actual safe, or maybe your suitcase in the attic so find them when you next go to pack.
    – Notts90
    Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 14:13
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    They obtained those Euros for you, and transported them to the location you requested. That is a real service that was provided for you, hey have some expenses in it, and I'm not sure why you expect it for free. Perhaps the issue is with your sense of "what seems right". Commented Jul 9, 2019 at 23:34
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    "I'll have to sell the euros back using the worse exchange rate they give for that, which doesn't seem right." - Just hold onto the Euros for a bit. With a Boris Johnson PM'ship likely and a hard Brexit plausible, the likely trajectory for the GBP in the short term is downwards. If it falls enough you can turn your Euros back into more GBP than you started with, despite the currency trader's spread.
    – aroth
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 11:23
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    Foreign exchange rates are like stock prices---they rise and fall minute to minute. If a foreign exchange transaction could be cancelled, the process could be used for arbitrage: submit the transaction at rate X, then if the rate goes up, follow through, and if the rate goes down, cancel the transaction. This is why they don't let you cancel.
    – krubo
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 13:35
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    @aroth I'm skeptical that you can predict the direction of future FX rate changes based on such obvious public information, it would imply that forex markets are grossly inefficient
    – JBGreen
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 17:58

1 Answer 1


The Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004 say in Section 11:

Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), regulation 9 does not confer on a consumer a right to cancel a distance contract which is—

(a) a contract for a financial service where the price of that service depends on fluctuations in the financial market outside the supplier’s control, which may occur during the cancellation period, such as services related to—

(i) foreign exchange,

So no, foreign exchange is specifically excluded from the right to cancel an online purchase.

  • 6
    I fell foul of this when transferring a large amount of money between England and Australia with XE. I didn't realise a transaction was legally binding so created two new ones when the first one was over my transaction limit. In my case they allowed me to cancel the contract by paying the difference the price had fluctuated since creation. The lesson, if you really don't want the contract there might be avenues to cancel it for a fee, in my case the £150 was better than owing an additional £50k.
    – sam_smith
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 5:18
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    And the lesson is: don't purchase foreign currency, at least not as currency (vs gambling with it, which is another topic). There's absolutely no need to do so. This is 2019 and your ATM and credit cards work anywhere, and automatically convert currency at rates far below what any scammy currency changer will offer you. Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 20:51
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    @R.. I’ve been told that in Germany a lot of places (including restaurants?) only accept cash. Is this no longer the case?
    – Tim
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 23:55
  • @Tim: Visit the nearest ATM just before you go out. There's no reason to bulk exchange money in advance. Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 0:04
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    @R..: You might want to add that you should not take the "convenience" ATM option of converting to your home currency. Your own bank almost always offers a better rate than the ATM operator. I.e. as an Englishman in Germany, don't take the GBP conversion offered.
    – MSalters
    Commented Jul 11, 2019 at 15:44

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