Did you know that online retailers have to let you cancel your order if you change your mind? You only have up to seven working days to do so after receiving it, but it appears not all retailers know the rules.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has confirmed that more than 60 ‘top online retailers’ (they won’t name names) are flouting consumer law by failing to provide accurate information about your shopping rights.
Now, as a well seasoned politician would say, ‘let me be clear’. I’m not out to make life difficult for online retailers, but I do get annoyed when consumers end up out-of-pocket and stuck in frustrating negotiations because they’re not made aware of their legal rights.
Returning online goods
The Distance Selling Regulations may not sound very inspiring but they do actually give you impressive rights and protection when you buy goods at a distance – be it online, by catalogue, by phone or from a TV shopping channel. In a nutshell, you have the right to a description of the goods or service you’re buying, the price, delivery and cancellation rights and information about the seller – which includes a geographical address if payment is taken.
If you choose to cancel your order, you have the right to do so at any time from the point of making the order up to seven working days from the day after receiving your goods. And significantly, if you cancel your order before receiving your goods the retailer must pay return postage costs, even if their T&Cs says differently.
But despite these regulations, it seems that some online retailers are still giving consumers the wrong information about their right to cancel.
Caught in the act
A recent example of this came to light when my colleague Amanda ordered a cycling jacket from online retailer Wiggle. On receiving her confirmation email a couple of hours later, she realised she’d bought a wind-proof jacket rather than a waterproof one. She immediately clicked on the link to cancel her order but when she did so, she received a message telling her that she was unable to do so because her item had already been dispatched.
In flagging the rules with this retailer Amanda was offered the option of returning her unwanted purchase and their representative said:
‘I have passed this on to the appropriate department. We take feedback like this very seriously and this has been passed for further consideration. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.’
Have you found it difficult tp cancel an online order after realising you bought the wrong thing? Have you been asked to pay return postage even though you cancelled an order before the goods were delivered?