Big companies break refund rules for e-commerce

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Next and some other big online retailers have been breaking the law regarding refunds for goods bought online. Under the Distance Selling Regulations the consumer is entitled to a refund for the goods AND original delivery charge if returned within 7 days of receiving the item.

Next and some other retailers such as Littlewoods and Debenhams have interpreted the law incorrectly by not refunding the full cost of the item and delivery charge. Debenhams and Littlewoods will only refund the delivery charge if the item is faulty, but this still breaks the law. On the vendor’s side, they are not liable for refunding the cost of the consumer returning the unwanted item.

The Distance Selling Regulations (DSR) were introduced in 2000 to protect mail order and online shoppers as they can’t inspect the item before making a purchase.

Once a purchase is made without face-to-face contact then there are some key time periods where

  • – Unless pre-agreed, the item should be delivered within a statutory 30 days from purchase.
  • – For goods, the consumer has seven working after receiving the item to return it and be entitled to a full refund of the cost AND delivery charge.
  • – The refund must be made within 30 days of the cancellation of the order

Consumers do not have the right to full refunds under the DSR for perishable goods, personalised or custom-made products, magazines and unwrapped CDs.

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Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding selling online. Despite the legal requirements it can be an effective addition to your usual selling channels and we can tailor solutions to suit any budget.

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