Happy Monday! 🙂
Yes, we’ll start the week with rather complex and serious topic – Consumer Contracts Regulations BUT I’m here to make it easy for you to understand so you don’t have to read hundreds of pages of mumbo-jumbo legal documents!
I’m honestly quite shocked by the number of businesses selling online that seem to be completely unaware of their legal responsibilities, with very little understanding of the Consumer Contracts Regulations and what they need to do under UK law, as an online seller.
A number of years ago I wrote a long article on this topic, after I was dismayed to get an email from a blog reader of mine describing how they had been refused a refund by Babz Media for a faulty item, with the eBay powerseller (with a feedback score close to 5 million!) apparently being completely unaware of UK law.
Basically a few months after purchase, an item bought from them developed a fault but when Babz were contacted for a return they repeatedly refused to cover the return postage cost as the “order was placed more than 30 days ago”. Even after it was pointed out to them that they were legally required to pay for postage of a faulty good, they claimed that “Under the distance selling regulations, if it is stated in the terms and conditions of the seller, if more than 30 days old, the customer is responsible for return postage costs.”
Now of course that’s a load of nonsense and they were completely wrong. As stated in the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (section 48b, part 2 if anyone would like to check for themselves):
(2) If the buyer requires the seller to repair or replace the goods, the seller must—
(a) repair or, as the case may be, replace the goods within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience to the buyer;
(b) bear any necessary costs incurred in doing so (including in particular the cost of any labour, materials or postage)
And there you go – as clear as can be, yet still a huge company like Babz Media refused to pay for the return postage (on an interesting side note – Babz Media actually ceased trading unexpectedly in 2015!).
But you’ll notice that I quoted the Sale of Goods Act above and that Babz Media referred to the Distance Selling Regulations.
However, both of these directives have since been replaced.
On June 14th 2014, the Distance Selling Regulations were superseded by the Consumer Contracts Regulations and from October 1st 2015, the Sale of Goods Act has been replaced by the Consumer Rights Act.
The Consumer Rights Act applies to purchases made both in-store and online (all purchases, basically) and the Consumer Contracts Regulations provides extra protection for consumers making purchases off-premises, or at a distance (this includes purchases made online, over the phone, or by mail order). [Read more…]