Third of online retailers could be breaking the law
According to the Office of Fair Trading, over a third of the UK's online retailers could be breaking the law regarding consumers.
The OFT's investigations found that, in many cases, there are unreasonable restrictions on refunds and mandatory charges being added without the customers knowledge... and they have to change their ways before Christmas.
And this isn't an attack on tinpot companies. The OFT focused on the sites of the 100 most-used online retailers and they found that these companies were wrongly telling consumers that returned goods must be in their original packaging or in their original condition. This contravenes the law that says customers have the right to inspect products.
Further to all this, almost two-thirds of all the retailers didn't provide an email contact address, which is a breach of E-Commerce regulations and, in addition to that, of the 60% of sites that told buyers of compulsory charges (like delivery and such), 24% of those then added extra, unexpected, costs on top (such as card charges and booking fees).
"The OFT recognises that most businesses want to play fair with their customers and to comply with the law," said Cavendish Elithorn, a senior director at the OFT, adding: "We encourage all online retailers to check their websites so customers can be confident their rights are being respected when they shop online."
Retailers who don't change their processes could be taken to court and fined.
In summary, all retailers must delivered goods within 30 days, unless agreed otherwise and you can cancel an order within seven working days and get a full refund. The refund shouldn't include delivery charges and you don't need to return products in original packaging. Companies are responsible for the return of items if they're being sent back because they are faulty or not as ordered.