Len Dastard's guide to the Distance Selling Regulations (DSR), part 1

26 January 2011

Hola amigos! In the words of Mick Hucknall, if you'd don't know me by now, you will never ever ever know me. I will also sleep with your wife and all her sisters. Ha ha ha. No, if you don't know me, I am Len Dastard, a full time litigation executive and semi-retired imaginary Mexican wrestler.

It has always been my desire to bring to you, my hermosas personas, advice on what to do in situations that require the assistance of the law. This week we take a look at the Distance Selling Regulations 2000.

One of our hermanos over at HotUKDeals wanted to know their rights when receiving an item from a retailer which they then wanted to return. You can find the thread in question here.

It is quite easy to recognise what is classed as “shopping at a distance”. This can cover the following:

• telephone orders
• internet orders
• mail order from catalogues
• direct TV orders

Thankfully the law appreciates that there would be many problems with distance selling so they gave consumers rights under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) (Amendment) Regulations 2005.

These regulations cover most types of goods and services but they do not cover:

• contracts for the sale of land
• auctions
• purchases at a vending machine
• purchases using a public payphone
• financial services (the Financial Services (Distance Marketing) Regulations 2004 and the Consumer Credit Act 1974)

Under Section 10 of the DSR there is a right to cancel and this is known as the “cooling-off” period. In order to rely on this you must put this in writing by letter, fax or email. It is advisable to keep proof of postage. A telephone call is not sufficient unless both you and the trader agree otherwise. As the DSR cover both goods and services there are certain time limits for each. These are:

• Services – 7 working days after the day on which you agree to go ahead with the agreement
• Goods – 7 working days after the day on which the goods are received

If you comply with the requirements as set out in the DSR the retailer is expected to return your money with 30 days. If you have given goods in part exchange, the trader then has 10 days in which to return them to you in the same condition as they were given.

In Part 2 we will cover the consumer’s right to clear information and what information the retailer must provide you with before you make your purchase.

We also currently have an issue with a particular retailer which we are currently in contact with so hopefully we will be providing a worked example very soon! Adios! And remember, cierre las puertas o te estrangular a todos!


  • The S.
    They also don't cover items that have be customised
  • TimB
    Also, the 7 *working* days cooling off period doesn't start until the company have informed you of this right. If the T&Cs say 7 days, then you have 7 working days from the day you receive the goods. If the T&Cs say longer, then thats how long you have. If the T&Cs don't mention it, or they lie about your legal rights, then you have 7 working days from the date they inform you of your rights, up to a maximum of 3 months.
  • Billy
    Len, Does DSR apply if you order from a retailers website but pick up and pay in-store? Adios
  • Rich
    Does DSR apply for business to business purchases?
  • Christopher
    >> Does DSR apply if you order from a retailers website but pick up and pay in-store? Similarly, does it apply if you order from a retailer but *return* to a store? Obviously, yes. But what you haven't mentioned is you're entitled to the refund of the original postage costs, and only obliged to make the goods available for collection, not to return them yourself. So, does the same apply if returning goods in-store? No doubt they'll be able to claim they have no idea what the postage costs are, online are a seperate business, can't do that sir, well you're not returning it to them are you, etc etc. Soon to find the answer to this out myself with Argos, but was planning on printing off a copy of the DSRs just incase ;) >> Does DSR apply if you order from a retailers website but pick up and pay in-store? Actually... probably not. You're just "reserving" the item for an instore sale. At which point you're paying for the goods, from the store, in person, with the ability to inspect and refuse goods at point of sale should you so wish. I can't see the DSR's covering that. But the dastard may know better...
  • Christopher
    >> Does DSR apply for business to business purchases? I'm gonna guess and say no. The DSR's being the Consumer Protection Regulations. Businesses aren't consumers, and aren't expected to be as stupid as them. I think. However, if the seller don't know any better...
  • Len D.
    Rich - no, it doesnt. The DSR only apply to business to consumer contracts and do not cover business to business contracts.
  • Rich
    Would the visa chargeback scheme apply if the service is not as requested?
  • Rich
    Thanks for previous reply btw!
  • Christopher
    >> Similarly, does it apply if you order from a retailer but *return* to a store? >> Obviously, yes. But what you haven’t mentioned is you’re entitled to the refund of the original postage >> costs... Soon to find the answer to this out myself with Argos... Oh geez. Didn't even get that far. Argos instore just flatout refused to refund anything for a preowned video game unless it was due to a fault, even though online had said it was possible to return instore. Didn't bother mentioning the DSRs, not like anyone there would ever need to be aware of them, and faik online are a seperate company so instore can do as they wish.
  • Christopher
    nm, argos's online CS knew what they were doing at least. Pitty really, I was all up for a trip to court, to attack on multiple fronts (DSR fail, contract based fail, wasting my time fail, etc etc). In conclusion, don't try to return something to a high-street outlet under the DSRs, unless it would otherwise be accepted as a return under non-DSR policy/law.
  • Len B.
    [...] that he no longer wanted these, so telephoned the seller to arrange a return and refund, within the cooling off period of seven working days. The seller pointed David to his Terms and Conditions which state (I wont post these as it is very [...]
  • Len D.
    Hi Billy :) No. The DSR will not apply for that type of transaction as the contract was formed instore and not "at a distance". Len
  • Lee
    What the legal stance on 'Restocking Fees' on? I purchased an item via internet and when it arrived it wasn't what i was expecting to receive (it WAS the item i ordered but having finally seen the item 1st hand it looked cheaply made and not value for money). I contacted the company and informed them and have been told that they charge a 'restocking fee of 25%'... is this going against the DSR? Any help appreciated Lee
  • vodka p.
    Hi, I know this is an old thread but do the DSR apply if I spoke over the phone, never met the retailer, paid by ban transfer but had been to HIS trade supplier to see a sample? The smple was a stone tie that was wet so a small fist sized area was dried to show me the colour an I was assured by all that all the tiles were the same. Tiles arrived and were blotchy and nothing like the description given verbally or shown in a oicture on the trade supplier website. had to pay haulage to return them and now the retailer wants 20% for handling! His main website doesn't show prices but he is part of another website that does do on line ordering that is his family business.
  • In W.
    I'm now not sure the place you're getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend some time finding out more or working out more. Thank you for wonderful information I was searching for this info for my mission.
  • RIK
    If I sell something on Ebay to another business, (trade to trade) and am about to refund the buyer that changed their mind after ordering and paying for an item that we delivered, do I have to refund them the outward p&p cost occured by us?

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