Consumer Rights and the Internet in the UK.
Marilyn Beardsmore takes a look at consumer rights for online shoppers.
Know your rights!
Basically, you have the same rights when you shop on the internet as when you go to a shop. More in fact. Always remember, your contract is with the seller, NOT the manufacturer, and so if there is a problem with the goods, it is up to the seller to sort it out. If the goods are faulty, you have the right to a full refund.
Right to Cancel
As with any distance selling, when you buy goods on the internet , you have the right to cancel within 7 days of receiving the goods and you don't even have to give a reason. When you think about it, this is reasonable because you don't have the opportunity of inspecting the goods before you buy. However, there are exceptions to this - for example, perishable goods.
But beware. These rights will only apply if the company is based in the UK. You also have rights if the company you are buying from is a full member of the EU. If you are buying from outside the EU, then you will have a certain amount of protection if you use a credit card.
One point to think about is the cost of returning goods.
If the goods are faulty, then the company is obliged to pay for the cost of returning them as well as giving you a full refund.
However, if the goods are not faulty, some companies will not refund the initial delivery charges and you may also have to pay to get the goods sent back. If you think this might be an issue, please check out the terms and conditions of any internet retailer before you hand over your cash.
Sometimes delivery charges may seem excessive, but most reputable companies take out insurance in case the goods are lost or damaged in transit.
However, we have actually come across a couple of sites that do not do this. One website was offering a free delivery option but with the proviso that any damage sustained in transit was the responsibility of the buyer. Bearing in mind that the maximum compensation that the Royal Mail will pay out on goods that are not specially insured is only £28, this doesn't seem such a good idea!
When you are thinking of buying, it's always a good idea to look at the company's delivery policy, and if it is not clear, email them first.
We strongly advise that before you purchase online, you take out a few minutes and visit the links below, all of which are 'user friendly' and free of jargon!
You might like to visit the government wesite Consumer Direct which includes an article on shopping online as well as more general information on comsumer rights.
The Office of Fair Trading has clearly written articles on consumer rights, including advice about online shopping.
Some general information on the Sale of Goods Act. This is part of the official website of the Department of Trade and Industry and looks at consumer rights in general.
Related Easytorecall Articles
• Buying Goods from Abroad
• Guide to Internet Shopping
• Returning Good
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