- Learn About The Law
- Consumer Law
- Consumer Protection
- What if I buy by phone or mail order, or over the internet?
What if I buy by phone or mail order, or over the internet?
In general, the laws that apply to buying things in shops also apply when you buy by phone or mail order or over the internet.
The Distance Selling Regulations give you extra protection when buying from any European Union country:
- by mail order;
- by fax;
- by phone;
- over the internet; or
- through a TV shopping channel or any interactive TV shopping service.
However, they don't cover auctions (including internet auctions), or buying from countries outside the European Union, such as Switzerland, Canada or the USA.
These regulations mean you must be told the name and address of the supplier and the price, including tax and delivery charges before you buy. You must also be given certain information in writing (which could be an email) about your rights, including:
- how to cancel an order;
- how to return goods; and
- details of any guarantees or
- after-sales service.
In most cases, you must also get a 'cooling-off period' of seven working days. This means you can cancel your order, without having to pay anything, within seven working days of receiving the goods or, in the case of a service, of placing the order. But if you agree to a service (work on your home, for example) that will start within that seven-day period, and you've received the written information about your rights before that work starts, then your right to cancel ends when the work starts.
Also, you can't return certain types of item, including:
- bespoke (tailor-made) or personalised goods;
- perishables (such as fresh food);
- CDs, DVDs or computer software if you've opened the packaging.
You must also be protected against fraudulent use of your credit card details.
The regulations don't cover everything you can buy. For example, separate rules cover holidays and financial services (such as loans and investments).
This content is subject to Crown Copyright
Although advertising is required by companies in order to attract custom, some companies set out to mislead consumers with their advertisements by trying to sell goods or services that are not what they purport to be. These types of advertisements are against the law.
Codes of practice are important because they help to ensure that you, the consumer, get a fair deal from a trustworthy business. On this page you will find out about the schemes in place throughout the UK.
What do you do when you want to know where a product comes from, how it was made, or whether the workers were properly paid? You look at the label! Here we explain what labels companies are allowed to use, and give you some tips for logos to look for.
Identity theft, online fraud and credit card fraud have increased dramatically in recent years. There are a number of simple steps you can take to prevent criminals or fraudsters getting the information they need to steal money from you or use your identity.
Formal complain. Is this defamation?
Help re domestic sitiuation
Disciplinary Written Warning
Would I get legal aid?
Grievance at work - unsafe practices
compensation is not minimum
Registering as UK Citizen
Can reservation fee be accepted then rejected due to property pulled off the market?
Personal Defamation and Picture Theft on Facebook
i haven't been paid
Claim for bad business advice...?
Position of Trust
Next of kin
Use of personal information for purpose other than for what it was given
Law and government: Green Party politician Jenny Jones arrested
Green Party deputy chair of the London assembly's police and crime committee has been arrested along with 15 other people during a demonstration near parliament, reports the Guardian. Jones, 64, was arrested after visiting the protest site of Occupy London....
Criminal law: Those who use knifes or guns during robbers will receive longer sentences
New guidelines have been released stating those criminal who use knifes or guns during a robbery should receive longer sentences, reports the Guardian. The proposals come after a period where fatal stabbing and knife crime have risen in prominence in...
Benefits law: Prime Minister proposes cap on benefit payouts
Housing and living benefits are to be capped as part of the Conservative party's plans for greater employment, reports the Daily Mail. Prime Minister, David Cameron, has proposed that a cap be placed on housing and living benefits to a...
Media law: Ofcom deems swearing on live radio before six o'clock breaches guidelines
A recent live broadcasting of Radio 1's Big Weekend witnessed two celebrities swearing during their performances, reports the BBC. Watchdog Ofcom have been investigating a live broadcast from Radio 1's May event, the Big Weekend. The investigation comes as a...
KJS Solicitors Guest Blog: Divorce times being affected by those who choose to represent themselves in court
There has been a significant increase in the time it takes for couples to get divorced and the courts in England and Wales are putting this increase down to the fact that many individuals are now going down the route...
EU law: Cameron's bid to limit European immigration is dismissed as 'illegal' by European Commission President
Arguments arise over European migration to Britain, reports the Mail on Sunday. In a bid to limit the number of Europeans who migrate to Britain every year, the Prime Minister has proposed capping the number at 100,000. However, his plan...
Trolling: Proposal to quadruple current maximum sentence for internet trolls
Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, has proposed that the current six month maximum sentence for internet trolls be raised to two years, reports the BBC. Following the recent publicity surrounding the Madeley family's threats from twitter trolls, the Justice Secretary has...
Benefits law: Housing benefit fraud should have been tackled sooner states National Audit Office
The National Audit Office (NAO) has released information showing yearly overpayments of Housing Benefit have reached almost £1.4bn over the last four years, reports the BBC. The NAO has examined the Department of Work and Pensions' (DWP) activity over the...
Media law: Staff at the Sun newspaper accused of paying public officials for information
Sun staff face charges of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office as they appear in court to answer the allegations, the BBC reports. Six members of staff at the Sun newspaper are accused of making payments to public...
Family law: Landmark ruling in case of unmarried couple
A ruling has been made in favour of an unmarried ex partner in a landmark case for family law, reports the Daily Mail. Former couple, Catherine Blackburn and David Southwell, have been in court arguing over assets. Historically, given that...
Criminal law: Theresa May calls for limitations to be placed on bail time
Home Secretary plans to put an end to limitless bail times in order to spare those on bail from suffering for too long, reports the BBC. Current policy allows for bail time to be as long as investigating officers consider...
Privacy law: UN report claims extensive internet surveillance will adversely affect international law
A new report published by the UN has stated the surveillance of the internet by government intelligence agencies may undermine international law, reports the Guardian. The report, written by Ben Emmerson QC, a specialist on counter-terrorism, was released as a...
Media law: Prison officer accused of selling stories to tabloids
A prison officer has appeared in court facing claims that he sold various pieces of information regarding Jon Venables' prison life to newspapers, the BBC reports. A 42-year-old prison officer, Scott Chapman, has appeared in court to answer serious charges...
Criminal law: Two found guilty of roles in sex trafficking
Guilty verdicts are handed to a couple who trafficked two African women into the UK and forced them into prostitution, reports the BBC. Despite her youth, 24-year-old Lizzy Idahosa trafficked two women from Nigeria into the UK and used a...
Criminal law: Officer suggests Pistorius serve community service order rather than jail
A probation officer acting in defence of Oscar Pistorius has suggested that the killer serves a community service and house arrest sentence as opposed to imprisonment, reports the BBC. Sparking outrage from the prosecution, Joel Maringa suggested that Pistorius escape...
Whether you are already involved in a lawsuit, or just considering getting help with a legal issue, you may have questions about working with a solicitor. Click through to find practical tips on choosing, meeting with, and hiring a solicitor - including information on fee agreements and expenses.see our hiring a solicitor guide
If you download a song, film, game or software from a file-sharing website or another website (such as a page on a social-networking site) where it's made available, and you do not pay for the item or otherwise obtain it under licence from the copyright holder, then you are infringing someone's copyright.