The Shopping BluesDec 07, 2021
Category: Dispute Resolution
If you were swept up in the Black Friday frenzy this year but ended up having the shopping blues instead, you are not alone.
The sales, enticing you with massive price reductions, draw you in, and you know exactly what to get your family and friends for Christmas this year, and for yourself, of course. You browse and find something you like and click, add to bag and checkout. So far, so good.
Perhaps you even paid extra for next day delivery to make sure it arrived on time. All ordered in good time, so you are waiting for your purchase to arrive. And you’re waiting… waiting… and waiting.
Your delivery is in the end either severely delayed or does not turn up at all. Or it does, but it is either broken or not what you expected to receive. This is a very frustrating scenario but unfortunately, very few of us can claim that this has never happened to us.
What are your rights as a consumer shopping online?
Your consumer rights, as they relate to online purchases, are contained within various pieces of legislation: Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 (CCR), Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA), and The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (CPR). Between them, they set out your various consumer rights and remedies relating to the supply of goods, digital content, and services.
The above legislation covers purchases a consumer makes online. However, it is important to note that not all transactions will be covered by these rights: they do not apply if you are entering into a contract for buying land, constructing a building, via an auction, or using a public payphone (yes, they still exist!) or buying from an automated vending machine/commercial premises.
Below, we address your general rights as a consumer purchasing goods online: –
If there are issues with your order, your first call should be making a complaint to the retailer. Remember that your contract is with them, and so, even if it is the courier that is the problem, your complaint should be sent to the retailer.
Let’s say that your order arrives later than agreed, and you paid extra for expedited delivery. You can claim for the extra cost as you did not receive the delivery in time as promised. You should be expecting the delivery to arrive without undue delay and at most, 30 days, unless there is an agreement between you and the seller specifying a different date.
Your order has taken too long to arrive
If your order does not arrive promptly and you do not wish to wait any longer, you can cancel it within the relevant cancellation period. Unless you have agreed more favourable terms with the seller, this cancellation period will be 14 days of receipt, for most purchases. If your item has not arrived, it is still within the cancellation period. If you wish to wait for it to arrive, you have 14 days of receipt to cancel it instead. Once the business receives the returned goods, it must refund the purchase price within a further 14 days.
As the timing of delivery of an order is especially important to us around Christmas time, or any other time where you wish to have it by a certain date (perhaps so that you will have a birthday gift arrive in time), tell the retailer. If the delivery is running late, you can email them and let them know that you will accept delivery by a certain date, and if they cannot keep to this date, you can claim that the contract has ended, and you can request a refund in full.
The cancellation period of 14 days of receipt of goods applies to orders you may simply wish to return for whatever reason, but you need to be aware that there are certain goods where you will not have the right to cancel. If you purchase software, DVDs or CDs and break the seal; items that perish; bespoke / custom / tailored items and those which come with a seal for hygiene or health reasons.
If the order arrives damaged or is faulty, and you wish to return it, you should ask for a refund within the cancellation period. Your refund must be processed within 14 days of you returning the item, or them receiving the goods, whichever occurs earlier. You will need to keep your proof of postage to prove they have been returned.
If you would like them to be repaired or replaced instead, then you need to tell the company, and they should get the repairs done or replace the item in a reasonable amount of time.
Where orders are less than £42, then CRA will protect your rights. Under the CRA, you can cancel the contract for any reason within 14 days of placing your order.
If the products are faulty, you can seek a full refund within 30 days; a repair/replacement between 30 days and 6 months, and beyond 6 months, you should ask for another repair/replacement before seeking a partial refund; however, it will be your responsibility to prove that the product is faulty.
Be mindful of what category the goods you purchase fall under. If they are not exempt from the cancellation rights, you can cancel your order up to 14 days of receipt of the goods if they are worth over £42, and within 14 days of placing the order for orders below £42. Watch the time as you only have a limited time in which to act. Check the Ts and Cs just in case the cancellation period is longer.
The retailers may try to make it harder for you to cancel the order or return the goods, but they should not obstruct the cancellation process and make it unduly difficult.
Always check what you actually receive and do notify the retailers if time is of the essence. Remember that you have legal rights and have protection when things go wrong with online shopping.