Whether or not you like the European Union, new legislation has come into force across 28 European countries, with a focus on improving consumer rights when resolving issues. The new UK regulation is the “Consumer Contracts Regulation” and replaces the previous “Distance Selling Regulations”.
The focus on regulations gives you stronger support if something goes wrong with an online purchase and ensures you can get your money back.
The new laws have been described as the biggest overhaul of consumer regulations in a decade. This week we will help you understand your rights if something does go wrong. After all to be forewarned is to be forearmed!
If you purchase a product online you now have 14 days to return the product. If you want to get hold of the company to complain about a product you ordered, they are required to give you a standard rate number to call and not a premium rate number.
No immediate yes
Have you ever bought something online and had other products like insurance added to your order, requiring you to opt out? Companies selling online products will no longer be able to automatically add additional products to your basket.
Debit/Credit Card administration charges
In addition, administration charges for purchasing of goods such as concert tickets will become more controlled. Therefore you can expect these additional costs to be a lot less or removed altogether. The exceptions are packaged holiday, financial services and gambling as these are excluded from the regulations.
Making it clearer when you buy
When you buy something online the company will have to make it clear that you are buying or committing to buy. Instead of when you place an order order the company saying, simply “buy” the company will need to say “order and pay now” or “you are committing to purchase and pay”.
When you place the order the company must ensure the order is clear and includes contact details, a description of what you are buying and the total price of the order including the cost of delivery.
For the first time, digital content will also fall under consumer regulations. Digital content is considered as content that is ‘not on a tangible medium’, be it software, Apps or games purchased online. When you purchase digital content you have 14-days to return the content, unless you give your express permission to waive these rights. It must be clearly explained to you that you are giving up these rights and that you agree to waive these rights..
If you do not give express permission to waive your rights, you will have the right to cancel within14-days the content after it became accessible to you. If you cancel your order the firm has to give you a refund, without undue delay, so put simply, your refund should be quick. This should also include any delivery or return charges.
If the delivery was comprised of multiple deliveries, then the 14-days counts from when the last item was delivered.
What else does this apply to?
These new regulations also apply to door-to-door sales, pop up sales stands, telesales and shopping channel sales.
What if the company fails to comply?
When dealing with a company you should deal with the issue in the same way as any other issue. Raise the issue with the company, ensure you keep a complete and accurate record. Keep copies of all your written communications or if you phone, ensure you make notes of what was promised, the timescale, and the name of the person you spoke to. If the issue cannot be resolved, then you should contact the Citizen Advice Bureau (CAB). They will be able to raise the issue with your Local Trading Standards and take the issue directly to the company for you. Alternatively you can use Resolver to help raise and resolve your case with over 150 retailers.
If you have experienced issues with a retailer, it is worth considering raising the issue with them as quickly as possible. Remember your rights when purchasing online or digital content