Online Sellers Need to Take Action…
If you buy or sell online, take note! The distance selling laws that governed these transactions changed this month, reports Richard James, a Partner at Yeovil-based Solicitors Title. The new law gives added protection to consumers and will be followed by one of the biggest updates to consumer law in 30 years.
The changes this month mean that consumers now have a longer cooling-off period – 14 days instead of the previous 7 working days – to cancel a purchase made online, or in other situations where the buyer and seller are not face-to-face. To ensure consumers know who they are dealing with, the requirement for up-front information is also extended – on top of a trader’s identity and contact information, sellers must now provide details of any after-sales service, complaints-handling policy or guarantees that will apply – if they don’t, the cancellation period is extended to a year. For traders that don’t comply, they leave themselves open to problems later; perhaps having to refund an item months after it was originally purchased.
But for traders, returns are now fairer. A consumer who chooses to return goods will now have to wait for a refund – either until the goods have been returned or until they have provided some evidence that a return has been made – allowing traders to inspect the goods and in some cases make a deduction for any damage; under the previous regime, this was a costly issue for sellers.
What to do now? Businesses need to consider their sales process and what their online terms currently say – they may not now be compliant. As specialists in online and technology law, Solicitors Title will be rolling out a number of free seminars to update local businesses on the changes and how they apply.