Consumer Rights In Distance Selling

In addition to the Sale of Goods Act, the Distance Selling Regulations provide consumers with rights when purchasing goods or services. The regulations cover sales made where there is no face-to-face contact between seller and buyer (e.g. e-commerce). The regulations do not apply to the sale or transfer of land, goods purchased at an auction, contracts concluded by automated vending machines or other automated commercial premises, business to business sales, and financial services.

The regulations require a seller to provide clear and accurate information regarding the goods before you buy the product. This includes payment arrangements, delivery arrangements and total cost (including tax and delivery charges). The final price must be the same as that quoted before the purchase. Written confirmation of this information must be sent to the buyer once the purchase has been made.

Online retailers must provide complete information about their name, geographical address and email address.

Consumers must be provided with a cooling-off period of seven working days. During this period, a consumer may withdraw from the contract without giving any reason. The seven days begin once the goods have been delivered. For services, the period begins once the contract has been made. If the services have already begun within the seven days, then the right to cancel ends when the service begins. Notification of cancellation should be sent to the supplier and ideally in writing. Retailers must provide full information on your right to return.

A number of exceptions exist to the cooling-off period. There will be no cooling-off period if the product was ordered to a personal specification if the packaging on products such as DVDs has been removed if the product was a perishable good if it was a newspaper or magazine if the service was a lottery or betting service.

Consumers may receive a full refund where goods have not been delivered by the agreed date. If a delivery date has not been agreed, you are entitled to a refund if the goods have not been delivered within 30 days.

Where the product is faulty or poorly described, consumers have the same rights as if the goods were purchased on the high street under the Sale of Goods Act.

Consumers who purchase using a form of credit have an equal liability claim against the credit firm under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act for purchases between £100 and £30,000.

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