A survey published by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) found that 28% of UK-based online traders are not aware or are only slightly aware of the laws which apply to internet shopping.
On top of this 56% of internet shoppers surveyed did not know about their right to cancel under the distance selling regulations and 29% did not know where to go to get advice on their rights.
With the UK internet shopping market worth a massive £21.4bn a year, with over 20 million customers it appears that the majority do not even know their right to cancel. Under the distance selling regulations a consumer can at any time during the ‘cancellation period’ cancel the contract by notifying the seller in writing.
Cancellation period for goods: where written confirmation and additional information is provided before or at the time of delivery then there is a cancellation period of seven days. Where written confirmation and additional information is provided within three months of delivery then the cancellation period will end seven days after receipt of the written confirmation/additional information. Where the obligation to give written confirmation and additional information is not fulfilled within three months then the cancellation period ends three months and seven days from the day after the delivery day. Sellers can also extend these cancellation periods as they see
fit, provided of course they do not mislead consumers as to their rights.
The OFT also announced that it will announce a strategy by the end of 2007 to raise awareness of shoppers rights as well as other issues such as effective search, potential risks and security issues etc.
Until then try to get on top of the e-commerce laws, it could save you money: between £60 and £100 million is paid our by shoppers every year in unexpected charges!