Do you avoid buying from online retailers because you are nervous when opening the parcel as you don’t want to ruin the packaging in case you have to return the order, or are you worried about paying for return postage for faulty goods? Well did you know that you don’t need to worry about either under consumer law, but many retailers simply fail to tell us!
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found that of the 156 retailer websites that were checked, 62 are currently not complying with consumer law and have until Christmas to make changes. The main breaches made by websites were to do with cancellations and returns.
33 per cent of websites stipulated that items must be returned in their original packaging and original condition, but under consumer law this is not required. Orders can also be cancelled within seven working days and a full refund must be given to the customer. However customers are responsible for the return costs of unwanted items, but if the goods are faulty or not what was ordered, the retailer must pay for the postage costs.
The main breach that websites made was regarding their contact details. 60 per cent of websites checked offer a form for customers to fill in to contact them. But under E-Commerce Regulations, they must provide an email address that people can make contact with.
Speaking of the breaches, Cavendish Elithorn, OFT’s Senior Director of the Goods and Consumer Group, said: “The OFT recognises that most businesses want to play fair with their customers and to comply with the law.
“We encourage all online retailers to check their websites so customers can be confident their rights are being respected when they shop online.”
But if you are still unsure of your rights, check out the video below by OFT or alternatively you can always shop on the high street and return items from the store you purchased them from, saving you any postage charges.
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