/ Shopping

New consumer rights coming to a place near you… in 2014

In two years, when the Consumer Rights Directive comes into force, consumers will enjoy several new shopping rights. We’d hoped for more at Which?, but there are a few things we can all look forward to.

A Consumer Rights Directive has been passed by the Council and European Parliament. Sadly we’ll have to wait until June 2014 before it’s implemented in the UK. Still, there are a number of new rules that should be good news for shoppers, so how will they affect you?

First, returning unwanted goods. I recently bought a bicycle online. It was very much a spur of the moment lunchtime purchase – had I changed my mind and wanted to return it for a full refund, I would have had to send it back within 7 days.

Once the new rules come into force you’ll have 14 days from the date of delivery to change your mind and get a full refund. And if the retailer doesn’t inform you of this right? Well, you’ll have up to a year to return your purchase.

I’m excited about this as I’ve bought stuff online before that looked great on the website, only to find it was slightly less amazing upon arrival. In these cases I often didn’t have enough time to get to the post office within the current 7-day time limit. Another week could make things much easier.

Clear rules on who pays for the return

There are other online shopping bonuses in the Directive. Firstly, retailers will have to clearly tell consumers that they’ll have to pay to return their goods beforehand. If they don’t, then the retailer will have to pay instead.

That’s all fine and dandy if you’re ordering a book or a DVD, but take the example of my bike – I have no idea how much it would cost to send it to the next postcode, let alone another part of the country.

Thankfully, the new rules will also require retailers to give us an estimate of the maximum cost for sending back bulky goods when bought online or by mail order.

No more rip-off surcharges or pre-ticked boxes

The Directive will also limit the amount businesses can charge consumers for paying by credit or debit card. However, as much as this is good news, we’d prefer the Financial Secretary Mark Hoban to ban rip-off surcharges now, rather than having to wait another two years.

Finally, do you get annoyed with having to un-tick a series of boxes that have opted you into travel insurance, car rental or extra legroom, when all you really want is a standard flight seat? Good news – the practice will become a thing of the past as the Directive bans all businesses from opting you into anything extra with tick boxes when you shop online.

So it’s clear that the Directive offers plenty of goodies for shoppers, but which of the new rules are you most excited about? And have you had any problems that could have been avoided had the Consumer Rights Directive already been in place?


Many years ago I bought by mail-order before internet days from a trader with a PO box number (and probably based in Essex) having paid by credit card… I rejected the item straightaway as permitted
additionally under T&C and requested an immediate full refund but no, outfit tried to flog me something
totally unrelated to original purchase: a cheap mountain bike….took quite some time before I got my money back after threatening legal action AND availing myself of the protection of Section 75. Probably
I could request a charge-back by credit card issuer that may well have been in my case.

Such a disgusting practice if not already illegal, should be made so.

From your description it doesn’t do much for my pet hate. Having decided to buy something online, you go to the shopping cart and still have absolutely no idea how much they are going to charge for carriage.

You then have to work through several registration pages, including giving over your name, address and credit card details, only to find that they are going to charge £9.99 for delivering a 100g box of limited value.

It is no good having rights if the law & deregulated Government do not assist fairly . When is the ethical coming to direct & oversee as it is these administration without discretion who maladministrate . This includes the regulators & our Councillors & MPs who allow their staff free reign .Head Offices no longer exist just another layer of the horrific customer service.

FOR EXAMPLE Virgin Media – Sent to local website
Yet again problems with the mindless customer services with a license to wind up .Customer Relations are not there on sundays . Typical usually you get India also holding the fort. Noone of decency, reason & morals is monitoring .Experience tells me if you If you Complain to customer service about staff behaviour [ colleagues] they maladministrate & wind up too using data protection likewise ofcom & Ombudsmen.
Perhaps you could e petition Islington who will also maladministrate or find fault with it .
Years ago Trading Standards would not be allowing this carry on . Now its a free for all with LA copying this abyssmal state of affairs with the foul Consumer Direct operating likewise .
What decent organisation franchises out it’s Disability Directory & staffs it with people who wind up the customers likewise most organisations including LA . Even admin to Cllrs & MP behave like this . Totally unethically independently .Are they elected?
All they are good for is checking you pay your bill & pretending have no comprehension so can label you abusive when you appear horrified.They are never able to refer you to someone who is making rules , procedures & decisions. Yesterday I found the cable forum which appears to be them too further winding you up there .
Maybe try whichconversation ? Or plebble review site ??Just contact me if you need support .Pledgebank too ?
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