If you have bought online from a UK-based company, many of your rights are the same as when you buy from a shop. You also have additional rights. Rread on to find out more.
- What you are entitled to
- Credit card purchases
- Internet auctions
- Online health products
- If things go wrong
What you are entitled to
- Clear information about the goods or services offered before you buy.
- Written confirmation of this information after you have made your purchase.
- A 'cooling-off' period during which an order can be cancelled without any reason and a full refund made.
- A full refund if the goods or services are not provided by the date you agreed. If you didn't agree a date, then you are entitled to a refund if the goods or services are not provided within 30 days.
These rights apply to all forms of home shopping, not just internet sales. There are cases where these additional rights do not apply:
Financial services such as insurance or banking.
Online auctions. Be careful when buying at online auctions because auctioneers, unlike other sellers, can refuse to accept responsibility for the quality of the goods they auction. Read the conditions of sale with care. But, unless the seller is a private individual, the standard terms of the contract set out in the still apply.
Vending machine purchases.
Contracts involving the sale of land.
For financial services you may have rights under the Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004.
Credit card purchases
If the goods or services you have bought cost over £100 and you paid by credit card, you may be protected by the Consumer Credit Act. This states that the credit card company is equally liable for any defects. Therefore, should a problem arise, you can claim either from the trader or from the credit card company.
Note that for this protection to apply, the contract price must be over £100. For example, if you have bought a suit, the jacket of which costs £75 and the trousers cost £40, you will have protection. However, if you bought the items separately instead of as one suit, you would not be afforded the same protection as neither of the items amount to £100.
Problems can arise when the company you have bought from is based outside the EU. For example, a guarantee may not be valid in the UK, or the goods may not work in the UK. Although UK law may cover your contract, in practice it might be very difficult to get any money out of a company based abroad.
For more information, see Bought on credit?
You have fewer rights when you buy privately, whether through a small ad in a newspaper or at an internet auction. In a private sale, the goods must be as described, but a seller who is not acting as a business is not covered by the rules on satisfactory quality and fitness for purpose.
If you have a problem, it could be harder to get it put right than if you bought from a shop. Some auction websites or third-party processes (paypal, nochex etc.) offer complaints resolution processes or anti-fraud guarantees. Not all do though, so read the terms and conditions. The obligations which the website has to you are likely to be limited.
Online health products
If you buy health products online be aware of your rights. Remember you have the right to:
- a cancellation period that starts when the contract is concluded and runs until the expiry of seven working days after the day of receipt of goods
- notice of your cancellation rights - where no correct notice of cancellation rights is given, your right to cancel runs until three months and seven working days after goods are received
- full geographical address (PO Box is not enough), no later than at the time of delivery of goods
- a full refund, following notice of cancellation in writing or other durable format, without deductions being made for initial handling and carriage costs.
- Please note that you cannot claim a refund if you have consumed or otherwise used the goods.
If things go wrong
- If you buy goods on the Internet, you still have the same rights as if you were shopping on the high street, in relation to faulty or poorly described goods.
- In addition, you are entitled to a seven working-day 'cooling-off' period.
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- Consumer Direct