Don’t let shopping online become a “rip off”

The Complaining Cow follows up on her Rip Off Britain advice about shopping online

When purchasing items online it’s easy to get carried away when you see what you think is a bargain. But make sure you know where you are buying from and what your rights are before you part with your money, especially if the retailer is outside the EU.

woman with coffee cup hand on mouse at laptop

Online shopping rights

If you are buying anything online, under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 you have 14 days cooling off period for changing your mind. You have up to 14 days to inform the retailer and 14 days from then to send back.  There are some exceptions to this, such as bespoke items. Whether or not return postage has to be paid when you change your mind depends on the trader’s terms and conditions.

If you paid extra for speedier delivery and it wasn’t delivered on time, you are entitled to this cost back. If the item is faulty (regardless of whether it is a bespoke item) you should not have to pay return postage and you should be refunded the full cost of any postage paid for sending the item to you. These regulations were put into place in the UK under an EU Directive and therefore you have this cover for purchasing all items online within the EU.

Financial cover if you have problems getting a refund

If the item costs over a £100 and you pay by credit card you will also have cover under Section 75A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which is worldwide. Notify the credit card provider if you get no redress from the retailer.

For items paid for using your bank debit card you may be able to use Chargeback. It is a voluntary scheme based on scheme rules set by card issuers such as Mastercard and Visa.

You also have cover when shopping with PayPal. However, completing a credit card transaction through a thirdparty payment service means that the credit card provider and the seller are no longer in a direct relationship, so are not equally liable. This applies therefore to services such as PayPal, Amazon Marketplace, Worldpay and Google Checkout. So you don’t have any credit card cover if you use these kind of services.

Rip Off Britain and shopping online

On the Pop Up segment of Rip Off Britain I heard the case of Kathy, who ordered a dress online but didn’t realise the website was based in, and the product would be delivered  from, China. The dress was not as described and was of poor quality. The company would not refund the postage costs. Their website however does say that “However you need to pay the return shipping fee on your own if there is no quality issue.”

As there was a quality issue I advised Kathy  it would be worth arguing again that it was of poor quality. I suggested sending an email and including a picture from the website alongside a picture of what was received, as evidence, plus a description of the differences between any description of the item and what was actually received. I don’t know whether she did this so I don’t know the outcome.

That’s all she could do. So take care when ordering online!

Rip Off Britain shopping online

How to spot a non UK website

  • The website only lists prices in US dollars or Euros.
  • Look for terms and conditions of returns.
  • Check for poor English. For example on this website in the “Rip Off Britain” case below was the grammatically incorrect phrase “item have stain”.
  • Search for the return address.
  • A website domain name is not always an indication of where the company is based. For example, a website address ending in .co.uk doesn’t necessarily mean the site is based in the UK.

Further help when complaining

If you need help with a purchase bought from within the EU you can contact the European Consumer Centre who should be able to assist you.

Parcel outside door, delivery notirrived? Arrived late? Left and stolen? Your rights to redress

 

Your rights, mail order, online and deliveries for more information and help on problems with deliveries

 

 

 

 

Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively how to ensure you write an effective complaint letter

Logo cartoon cow at a laptop of book cover. How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For advice, information, consumer rights, stories and template letters….

GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

How to complain about a non/late delivery

Goods must be delivered within the time frame agreed with the seller. If one hasn’t been agreed (you have agreed a time frame if the listing supplies a time frame) the trader must deliver ‘without undue delay’ and at the very latest not more than 30 days from the day after the contract is made. After this time you are entitled to a full refund.

If an item has been left and then stolen it is your responsibility if you provided details for a “safe place”. You are agreeing to it being safe! If there is a chance that it could be stolen don’t use it as a safe place! Common sense really! It has become your property as the retailer has left the item where you specified. You could possibly try and claim from your insurer.

However, if some fool has put it in a wheelie bin and it’s a bin day then the service has not been carried out with reasonable skill and care and you are entitled to a full refund.

A common mistake people make is to contact the courier and some retailers will try and fob you off and make you do this. However, your contract is with the trader, their contract is with the courier. Here is a template letter for when things go wrong with a delivery (put in your own information instead of the writing in bold).

Use “faithfully” when it is “Dear Sir/Madam” and “sincerely” where you know the name of the person to whom you are writing) and replace the bold with your information!

Dear xxx

Re: Item

On the date I ordered and paid in advance for item(s). It is now the date and I have not received it/them.

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation  and  Additional  Charges) Regulations 2013 states that goods must be delivered within the time frame agreed with the seller. The listing for this item stated that I would receive the item(s) by date. You are therefore in breach of contract and I am requesting a full refund.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 my contract is with you and not the courier.

I look forward to hearing from you within seven days. Should I not be fully satisfied with  your  response  I  will  not  hesitate  in  taking  the  matter  further  which  will include, but not be limited to, informing Trading Standards and if necessary starting proceedings through the Small Claims Court.

Yours sincerely/faithfully

More information about your rights regarding buying online and deliveries can be found in Your rights mail order, online and deliveries.

If you don’t get a satisfactory response from the company contact the CEO. You can find the contact details for any CEO on ceoemail.com

 

 

For more templates, advice,information and guidance about your rights and the laws there to protect you from faulty goods and poor service see How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

Deliveries ITV news with Martin Lewis, Helen Dewdney & Peter Handley