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Consumer Contracts Regulations – Your Legal Responsibilities as an Online Seller!

January 9, 2017 by Andrew Minalto - 78 Comments
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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).

So let’s now go through the Consumer Contracts Regulations (CCR) and make sure you’re fully aware of the rules you need to follow when selling online, be that on eBay, Amazon, or your own eCommerce store.

Now the CCRs cover a few different main areas/points and your legal responsibilities actually start BEFORE you make a sale as under the regulations you need to provide certain information about your business and the goods/services on offer to any potential buyer, and this includes:

  • Information about the seller (this must include the full name of your business, a geographical address and working contact number, as well as a contact email address).
  • An accurate description of the goods or services you are offering.
  • The total price of the goods or services you are offering, including all applicable taxes.
  • Details on any delivery costs.
  • Details on how payment can be made.
  • Details on the arrangement for delivery of service/goods – i.e. when a consumer can expect the item to arrive or the service to start.
  • Details on the cancellation rights of your buyer and the time limit for exercising that right.
  • Details on the cost of returning an item, both in the instance that it’s faulty (you, the seller, will cover the cost of return) and in the instance that the buyer has changed their mind (the buyer is then responsible for covering the cost of return).

Now this is all very self-explanatory and straightforward and when you’re selling on eBay or Amazon, it’s all pretty much taken care of for you anyway as you have to provide this information within your listing.

There is one point I want to quickly talk about in more detail – about the information you have to provide as a seller.

I get a lot of emails from new sellers who are hesitant about putting their address under the seller information tab on eBay but you have to – that’s the law. If you are operating as a business, then you need to provide this information (it doesn’t matter if you’re only a sole trader, that’s still classified as a business) – so please make sure you comply.

Now there are some more rules on the information you need to provide for distance and off-premises sales, but they don’t apply to everyone and are a bit technical, so I’ll just put a link to the legislation for those that want to take a look: Consumer Contracts Regulations Schedule 2

But let’s move on to what is the most important and most often discussed part of selling online:

The Right to Cancel

Under the Consumer Contract Regulations, consumers have an unconditional right to cancel an order for whatever reason, provided they do so within 14 days of receiving their goods (this was previously 7 days under the DSRs).

And just to be clear, that’s 14 calendar days from when the goods are received, not from when the order is made or from when the item is dispatched (as some online sellers seem to believe!).

This is the statutory cancellation period (also known as the “cooling-off period”) and it’s the minimum you can offer as an online seller. Of course you can offer more, like 28 days (or 365 days – if you want to follow Schuh’s example!).

  • Once a buyer has informed you that they want to cancel a contract and return an order, they should do so within 14 days.
  • You should refund the original purchase price within 14 days of receiving the goods back.

These are actually two important points that help a lot when dealing with returns on eBay and Amazon, as under the previous Distance Selling Regulations, you were required to provide a refund BEFORE the buyer had to post the order back – which created a lot of problems with unscrupulous buyers never bothering to actually return the item that they received a refund for.

Thankfully now you only have to provide a refund once you’ve received the item back and have inspected it.

And speaking of inspecting the item, the good news continues, as:

“You have the right to deduct a certain amount from refunds where goods show signs of unreasonable use that has led to diminished value”

Now before you get all excited, let me clarify this, as I see a lot of confusion online about this point:

  • You CANNOT deduct from the refund because the item was removed from its packaging.
  • You CANNOT deduct from the refund because the item has been tried or checked.

Customers can handle the goods as much as they would in a regular retail store and you can only deduct if the item has been obviously and definitely used extensively.

So if you just follow this rule using your common sense, it’s easy to decide whether a deduction can legally be made or not. For example, it’s reasonable to try on some shoes, but that means walking around in them for a few minutes, not running a four hour marathon and then deciding you want to return them… because that wouldn’t be allowed in a retail store either!

Now really you have to deal with this on a case by case basis, but I honestly just recommend refunding in full in most cases (unless the buyer is really trying to fleece you of course) as while you may save yourself a little bit of money, you’ll have to deal with a lot of hassle and negative feedback (we all know how difficult eBay and Amazon buyers can be!).

And last but not least, there is one more rule in regards to the cancellation right for you to bear in mind (and shockingly, it’s again in favour of us sellers):

You only have to refund the basic outbound delivery rate.

As before, you still need to refund the original delivery cost, but now only up to the cheapest standard delivery you offer. 

So what this means is that if a buyer chooses to upgrade to a more expensive delivery option and then they decide to return the goods, you DON’T have to refund the full amount.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re selling a product for £8 with a £3.80 shipping cost (which is via RM 2nd Class). If you also offer 1st Class Delivery for £5.45 and your customer decides to pay extra for that but then wants to refund the order – you only have to refund £11.80 (i.e. £8 plus the standard shipping cost of £3.80).

There are also some goods that can’t be returned simply because the buyer has changed their mind, such as:

  • Perishable goods or any item that deteriorates rapidly, such as food or fresh flowers;
  • CDs, DVDs or other software where the seal on the wrapping has been broken;
  • Custom-made or personalised goods;
  • Underwear, earrings etc.

Who Pays for the Return of Goods?

This is probably the question I’m asked most often and the one that causes the most confusion, but again, the rules are very simple:

If a buyer has changed their mind and cancelled an order within the “cooling off” period, then they have to cover return postage as long as you stipulated this before the purchase.

So for a buyer to be responsible for the return postage cost, you have to have made that information clear beforehand – i.e. in the returns section of your eBay/Amazon listing.

However, if the goods are faulty (not as described, defective, damaged etc. – basically not fit for purpose in any way) then you must refund the purchase price in full and pay for return delivery.

Which is something good old Babz Media weren’t aware of.

And that actually brings me perfectly on to my conclusion for this post. A few years ago, when I wrote the Distance Selling Regulations post, I ended it by saying that while these are the minimum that you have to offer, I always suggest “offering the best service possible to buyers so they come back to you for more (even if your prices are a little higher than the competition)… as that’s the smart way to sell; you get higher margins, more repeat customers and more sales – leave those other businesses to fight with their customers over a couple of pounds for return postage!”

And I stand by that 100% – and I think Babz Media and what happened to them is a perfect example and really does illustrate my point.

So that just about brings us to the end of this post, as I’ve covered the most important and confusing points of the consumer contracts regulations.

Of course the actual Consumer Contracts Regulations is much more extensive and covers some other aspects of selling online (mainly in regards to specific rules for those selling digitally downloaded products) so if you want to read over them in full, please take a look at this document here.

I hope you’ve found this post useful and that it helps you stay fully compliant with the online selling laws!

As always, if there’s anything that’s unclear or if you’d like my help or advice on anything, then please don’t hesitate to post in the comments section below and I’ll do my best to help.

Otherwise, until next time!

All the best,

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  1. hi Andrew

    I just wondering if council tax would be covered by the regs as in effect it is a service that is paid for , as I understand it covers police, fire, rubbish collection, park maintenance, elderly care and library’s etc ………..so therefore as a payer of council tax for services as above would the regs cover this …….. also if some of the services provided under council tax ie library’s etc are never used or can they still be charged for as no service is wanted or used by the individual and that therefore means they are paying for something they don’t get any benefit from and forced to pay ………… would this be seen as unfair term in a consumer contract

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Gareth,

      That’s a good question, but I’m afraid I have no answer to that…

      Personally, I don’t think the CCR applies to taxes like that.


  2. Nick Smith

    Hi Andrew,
    Fantastic article and very informative. I have a question, we retail LED light bulbs in blister packaging. A customer has ordered 25 light bulbs and cut open every single one leaving my family run business with 25 unsalable products. We don’t always sell in blister packaging and we are very accommodating when this happens with one or 2, absorbing the costs ourselves. What is my right as a retailer, do I have to refund this person in full or have they destroyed the product enough so that I can send it back to them?

    Kindest regards.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Hmm, that’s a good one! To be honest, I don’t know… the law says that you have to return the product in original packaging, but how does that work with Blister type of packaging, hard to say. Sorry, don’t know what to suggest even apart from sorting it out with customer directly, trying to settle down for a smaller refund because of it.

      You could try calling Trading Standards maybe and ask them for advice? Or Consumer Rights hotline?

      Sorry, not much help, I know.


  3. Grace Harris

    Hi Andrew, Thank you so much for posting such an informative article.

    I really hope you can help. I ordered a large cooker extractor fan and hood from a well known electrical goods supplier a few days ago. I received it today. The outer packaging had the product picture, name, barcode, etc. When I opened it, the extractor looked legitimate but on closer inspection it was obvious this was either a display model or returns that had been sent out as a new product but not checked. The chimney hood was a totally different make, colour and size from what I purchased and certainly not the model displayed on the box. There was signs of use, scratches and what looked like streak marks from when someone cleaned it. Looking at their website, they state the following:

    “Ordered the wrong item or unhappy with the product?

    You can then send the product back to us via a secure courier. You’ll need to arrange and pay for the courier, you should also make sure the product is insured with the courier and securely packaged for the journey.
    Once we’ve received the product back we’ll check it over and then contact you with the next steps”

    They go on to say:

    “It’s rare that a product arrives damaged but if it does you can refuse the item at the point of delivery and it will be returned with the driver”

    Understandably, they want the product back. But the item is large, and heavy so I can’t imagine what the returns cost will be. And they will want me to pay for it. The courier was from yodel so seems odd to assume that he would wait for me to remove all the packaging to check the order before leaving. Also on their website they highlight a restocking charge if the delivery gets returned/refused without explanation, and possible returns fee.

    Just to ask, the item has not been damaged in transport or during packing. They have sold me a used product with random parts thrown in. They have advertised an item as new, charged full price for it and now expect me to pay to send it back and insure it.

    Can I insist they send someone to collect it? Or is their anything I can say regarding my legal rights to a replacement/refund when they have knowingly repackaged an item and added third party parts to it?
    Sorry, Andrew. I took bloody ages explaining this due to fact I am absolutely raging. Thanks again for posting up such wonderful information. All the very best to you 😊

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Grace,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, absolutely! They have essentially sent you wrong/defective product and they have to cover returns shipping costs by the law.

      So contact them, explain the situation and ask them to collect the item and send the correct one. Or refund you the full amount you paid.


  4. W.K.Taylor.

    Hello Andrew. I would be most grateful if you are happy to advise on the following situation:
    On 20th. March I ordered and paid (by credit card) on-line, for 1000 litres of domestic heating oil, for delivery on or before 3rd. April. I had to chase the delivery company (using email) on 1st. April to confirm actual delivery date. The company phoned to say delivery would be on 2nd. April (pm.). By mid afternoon on 2nd. April delivery had not happened. I contacted the company and a series of exchange of emails took place. During this exchange of emails I began to feel uneasy and suspected no delivery was intended for 2nd. April. I asked that any delivery be cancelled and a full refund made to my credit card. No delivery has been made. Thus, I have paid for goods I will not receive. In your view am I legally due a full refund, and if yes, within what time scale? Thank you, in anticipation of a response.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t know, sorry… this is a specific “product” and situation, I don’t think “normal” rules apply here.

      I would recommend you call up Consumer Rights helpline and ask them:



  5. Andrew, here’s a tough one. Someone is trying to return a golf club to me, it’s obviously been used, but the dates confirm it can only have been used 1 day. However you can test a golf club in a shop so where does this leave us?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Good question…. the law would say that you don’t have to accept back such an item with un-reasonable signs of usage, BUT eBay will only care about the dates, return window, tracked shipping etc. – they won’t investigate the condition of the item you receive back. There are sellers who receive BRICKS back and still have to issue refunds….

  6. Rachel Blake

    Thanks for your informative article Andrew. Can you tell me where I could find information on customer’s responsibilities for online purchases? There is a plethora of information on supplier’s responsibilities, but I can’t find anything regarding the customer’s. We recently lost a Paypal dispute to a customer (in France) claiming non delivery, despite the fact that they gave us an incorrect address, typed by themselves into our website, and told us it was incorrect about a week after the goods had been despatched. I’d much appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Unfortunately, I don’t know where to look for help on this… I haven’t thought much about it as I don’t
      deal with expensive items.


  7. Andrew Peppin

    … please clarify … if purchasing an online coaching service from the USA (not a physical item) … and the customer is in the UK … the ‘cooling off period’ and distance contract regulations would still apply ??? … because the source transaction was taken from a UK bank account ???

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Andrew,

      The law does not apply in that way to digital products and services (as far as I am aware).

      Otherwise, everyone would say buy movies from iTunes and then “return” them for a refund.


  8. Does the customer have to merely POST the unwanted item back within 14 days of cancellation, or does the item have to have arrived back with the seller within the 14 days?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Phil,

      As far as I understand – post it out within 14 days.


  9. Can you explain how the rules apply for a UK-based online seller, when supplying to a customer outside of the EU (specifically the US)?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Phil,

      Good question! To be honest, I don’t know the answer to it – in theory, this law should not apply to people/customers in the US…

      But if you’re a good, honest business – wouldn’t you want to have the same rules for all customers?

      I would. At least on an e-commerce shop.


  10. I purchased 10kg of horse supplements . When they arrived, the tub contained only 3kg. I rang up the company who said they would sort it out and not to worry just start on the supplements whilst they look into it but that they would be able to do something to rectify it and perhaps issue a partial refund. We started the tub as advised, then 2 days later got an email stating there was a price/description error . They stated that £58 should have been the price for 3kg (which is what they sent me). They stated they would offer me a partial refund but if I wanted to purchase 10kg the price would be £200. I paid £58 for 10 kg – but they only sent me 3kg. What are my rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations please and which would be the best way to proceed? Obviously, I cannot send back an opened tub.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately, I won’t be able to help with such a specific question… If you can’t sort this out directly with the seller, try getting help at Trading Standards or Citizens Rights website:



  11. Claire Anderson

    Hi Andrew,
    I recently ordered a fancy dress costume from a supplier through eBay. The item was delivered and signed for by someone at a different address. Royal Mail have told me that they delivered the item to the address on the parcel but can not give me any details due to data protection. I have contacted the supplier who are refusing to refund me or provide a postage receipt. I have contacted both eBay resolution centre and PayPal who have both said they can not help me as the supplier has provided tracking details and the item has been delivered. Where do I go from here??

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Claire,

      Don’t know what to suggest to you really…

      If you paid with a credit card, can try doing a charge-back via your bank?


  12. Hello, I purchased a second hand sofa via bank transfer from an on line seller/business which described the sofa as manufactured by a high end retailer. Long story short it transpired to be a sofa from a budget retailer and the seller had no evidence to prove otherwise. I have been offered a full refund but the seller will not pay for the return courier costs even though the law states otherwise when the goods are faulty/not as described. Can you advise what to do in situations such as mine please as my 14 day window to return the goods is nearly up?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Catherine,

      You clearly inform merchant that they’re breaching the law and that you will act on this accordingly.

      They should cover return shipping if the item was faulty/not as described.


  13. Keith Shelton

    Hello Andrew
    Not a big deal but would like to know what eBay supplier obligation is for a recent purchase.
    I bought a head torch in September but it stopped working in October. I emailed them about fault within 30 days, saying that I would be happy with a replacement (unless they have a common fault). It was only £6.99 (free delivery).
    They say that they will refund £5.80 (no need to return item) or Full Refund if I return the item.
    I would like to know if I have to pay return postage if I wish to obtain a full refund.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Keith,

      It depends on the seller’s return policy.

      Please check it on the listing page, lower part – it will tell you who pays return shipping.


  14. Alastair Todd

    So, I recently cancelled an order and refused the delivery when it arrived.

    I got a refund but it was shy of £39.50 which the retailer said covered the cost of delivery.

    Now understanding the above, because they offer free delivery, the amount they can refund for delivery is £0??

    I am really confused by this. They do state in their terms that the cost of delivery is not reimbursed, but I didn’t read the small print because I have never encountered such a thing. Can they do this?

  15. Hi Andrew, thank you for this article it’s very helpful.
    I just wanted to confirm that these rules apply to a online auction website like John Pye. On there website, they claim to be a “public auction” but according to the Consumer Right Directive public auction implies that traders and consumers attend or are given the possibility to attend the auction in person. John Pye only offers public viewing. So do I still have the right to cancel?

    Tks for your help

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t know, sorry….

      Ask them directly 🙂


  16. Peter Thake

    Hi Andrew, great article, thank you. I wonder if you could clarify something for me? You say “You should refund the original purchase price within 14 days of receiving the goods back” – is this refund for the purchase price of the product only or the total purchase price including P&P? Similarly, you say “As before, you still need to refund the original delivery cost” – is this irrespective of the reason for return of the item(s)? If so, even if the item is not faulty, we the sellers have to refund the original postage (leaving us out of pocket)?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Peter,

      No, as far as I understand, by law, we don’t have to refund original shipping IF customer sent order back simply because changed mind.

      Only if there’s a problem with item, then we have to refund original shipping cost too.


      1. Sheb callahan

        Hey Andrew I have a situation that involves door to door delivery from the uk to USA. I chose this option to only be obligated to pay the invoice for customs duty and taxes. That is not what happen I bought it on ebay and was contacted by dap.uk to file my own customs paperwork when it should have only been to send me a bill, now my cargo is in storage and I can’t seem to get anyone to enforce regulations. Can you help me

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Sheb,

        Did you ask them whatever they can handle the paper work?

        Usually freight forwarders can do it OR at least recommend someone who can do it for you (Customs Broker).


      3. Robert Binning

        Andrew, that’s not right, original delivery costs must be refunded (albeit only the cheapest option offered). You actually state that in tour article but then contradict yourself in the reply to the question.

      4. Andrew Minalto

        Yes, sorry!!!!

        You’re right Robert – I mixed up there RETURN shipping costs with original shipping costs.

        Thanks for pointing this out! 🙂


      5. Peter Thake

        Very helpful, thanks Andrew!

      6. Andrew Minalto

        You’re welcome Peter! 🙂

  17. Paul Hollett

    Hello. As a sole trader I read on the net that you have the same rights as a consumer rather than a business. Can anyone confirm this as fact because I can’t find the web page. Many thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sorry Paul, don’t know answer to that one…


  18. I recently bought some clothes in a sale. Once received, the sizing was all over the place (I kept items of different sizes but returned others of varying sizes). They were just tried on and unworn. I returned within the 14 days and it has taken 10 days for them to be received back. In the mean time, the items were further reduced. I have been refunded the new cheaper price. I assume I’m entitled to the amount I paid originally as now the shop is unjustly enriched as it has my money and the clothing , but I can’t see anything to this effect. What do you think?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I think you should be refunded the full amount you paid, yes.

      Not the new Sale price.

      It doesn’t make any sense really to refund just the difference – you need to get full money back on what you paid.


  19. Hi Andrew, I don’t see anything in the legislation that excludes underwear or earrings being returned, unless there was a hygiene seal?

  20. Thank you for a very informative article.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Paul!

  21. First off, that’s a great article. Thanks for writing it.

    I have read over the regulations and was wondering a few things. If you’re able to help answer that, I’d really appreciate it.

    I read that you mentioned on another comment that made-to-order items are excluded from this. The relevant section being 28.(1)(b): the supply of goods that are made to the consumer’s specifications or are clearly personalised.

    Does that apply to non-personalised items that are made to order (in the sense that it doesn’t exist before the customer purchases it) but have no customisation, i.e. the design for the item is the same for each customer, rather than the “consumer’s specification”

    What would happen a customer notifies of a wish to return an item within within the first 14 day period, but then fails to return an item within 14 days of the notification? I would assume that it is no longer covered for a return, in the case of a buyer not actually returning an item.

    Thanks again!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Adam,

      I’m sorry but I don’t know really how it works with personalised goods on that detail, I haven’t researched it that deep.

      As for your second question – yes, if goods are NOT returned to you, return technically hasn’t happened.


  22. Margaret weldon

    I have bought two coats online from a company called Fashion Mia. The coats were faulty with missing buttons ; loose threads; they were supposed to be woken coats but are more like the material in a bed throw. I have notified them as soon. As the coats were delivered two days ago. They are offering to refund me £45 (I paid approximately £75). I have declined this offer as their goods are faulty and of poor quality.
    Can you advise what my next steps should be if they continue to refuse to return the full amount. Also who is liable for shipping costs ?
    Thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Margaret,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If the item is faulty, seller should cover shipping costs and offer you full refund upon receiving items back.


  23. Hi I bought shoes delivered from uk. I want to return them and I’ve downloaded the form to do so. It says on it that I will be charged a 10% restocking fee (something I later found it says on their website under t&cs) .
    I’m already paying for return delivery. Can they legally charge restocking fees? I know that was disallowed under distance selling regulations. I’m returning within 10 days

  24. Speaking particularily about eBay, a commercial seller uses a photo showing a “sauce boat and stand” (the item is listed as “sauce boat stand”) but does not make any comment in the “Item Description” that the two parts must be purchased separately. They do however state this in the small print at the very bottom of the page. Surely, they should include this information in the “Item Description”, afterall how many eBay customers read past that point. Having just bought this under the assumption it included both parts (as per the photo), what are my rights?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi David,

      Your rights is always to return the item to seller within 30 days of purchase for a refund.

      So do that if you’re not happy with what you have bought.


  25. Good afternoon Andrew,
    thank you for this interesting article.
    I friend of mine came across an article which stated the following about buying furniture online :
    “For the Regulations to apply to a purchase, the vendor and the purchaser should not have face to face contact. Therefore, if you go to a shop to view a bed, then return home and order it over the telephone, the Regulations will not apply”.

    Did you ever hear about this exception for which the Consumer Contracts Regulations doesn’t apply ?

    It’s realy weird to think that the online selling regulations don’t apply just because you visited a shop before.

    What is your opinion to this ? Thank you beforehand

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Oliver,

      This is first time I hear of such interpretation….

      If you ask me, that’s total non-sense and can’t be right.


  26. Hi, I’ve been told by a retailer that I cannot ask for return of a mattress because this would be under EXCEPTIONS, ie “items that had protective seals for hygiene reasons which has been broken. Mattresses are such a product and as you have broken the seal it cannot be returned”. May I ask if you agree with this statement please? There is not a fault with the mattress, it is just not what I expected comfort wise. Thank you, SD

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I’m sorry Sue but I won’t be able to help with this specific situation…

  27. Does this apply to goods that have not been made yet i.e. a sofa which was ordered late afternoon one day and cancelled the next morning?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Not sure on this one, I think it did not apply to custom made goods, no.

      But not sure what happens if customer wants to cancel BEFORE work was started to made it….

  28. Vintiquechique

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for this post, it is very useful to me as I have just become a business seller on eBay.
    I have been trying to find out what the legal regulations are for selling and accepting returns on vintage and antique items.
    Are the regulations the same for second hand items as they are for brand new?
    I do describe my items very carefully and add lots of photos so the customer knows exactly what they are bidding on.
    In my returns policy I say that I only accept returns on items that are not as described or if I have made a mistake in the listing. I want to make sure that this is legal. I can’t afford to accept returns and pay postage & return for buyers’ remorse.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, I think this does not apply to used items, no.

  29. Thanks for the info Andrew – it is very helpful. Quick question – when does the Buyer become the owner of the goods that I post to them? If, for example, I send them something which the Royal Mail delivers, and subsequently it is chewed to bits by their dog on the mat – do I have to replace it ? Is there a clause I should put into my Ts & Cs about ownership of goods?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Terri,

      As soon as customer receives goods he/she becomes the owner of those goods.

      There’s no need to put special clause about this and you’re not really responsible for customer dog eating up your item, lol


  30. David Henry

    Nationwide Building Society are giving totally different advice on postage costs. I bought some marble floor tiles after first inspecting a sample provided by the retailer. When the consignment arrived they were damaged with child and blade marks on the tiles and a totally different colour from the sample. I contacted the retailer who stated I had to pay shipping at £51 each way. I contacted NBS to place the transaction under dispute and they stated I was responsible for the shipping costs.
    I was shocked by this incorrect advice that many people would take as granted so I complained. After 2 stages of NBS complaints procedure they have stuck by the stance that if you return faulty goods after purchasing on line the buyer is responsible for the cost of shipping. Needles to say this is going to the FOS.
    After making the retailer aware of their legal obligations I got my shipping costs refunded.
    However the inept behaviour of NBS is inexcusable.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi David,

      Thanks for sharing this.

      I really hope I could show this article to EVERY person in the UK, to avoid situations like yours.

      Thanks again,

  31. Ania Williams

    Hi, I hope you can help? I bought a set of 4 fruit trees from Gardening Express last year. One of the 4 trees is obviously dead and is covered under a 5 year guarantee. My issue is that I have to return the dead tree in order for them to send a replacement but they will not refund my postage costs and are saying that I have to pay £4.99 for them to send a replacement. I have fed and watered the 4 trees and 3 of them are fantastic. I just want a replacement without incurring postage costs. Can they insist that I pay the postage for them to send a replacement? Thanks in advance.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ania,

      As far as I know, they can’t do this.

      They have to cover the return shipping cost or organise their own pick-up.


  32. Does the return address have to be in the UK?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, if you sell from the UK, return address should be in the UK too.


  33. Trying to claim a refund I am being directed to call an 0871 number at 68p per minute. Is this allowed?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, that should not happen, it’s not allowed.

  34. Robert Spratt

    Hi Andrew,

    Great post and made things very clear. Thank you.

    I wonder if you can clarify something else. If the customer cancels their order and returns the item within 14 days (and has proof of postage) BUT the delivery company (let’s say Royal Mail) takes 1 month to deliver it back to the seller, who is responsible? So, does “returned it” mean “posted it” or does it mean “delivered it”? Many thanks.

  35. Does the right to cancel also apply to private ebay sellers as opposed to business sellers?
    Does cancellation also apply to made to order items?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No & No.

  36. Emmanuel from Germany

    Hallo Andrew
    I am a very frequent blogger of your website from Germany. Thanks for the good work. Please i have a problem wirh a customer from. Italy, he bought an article from me after two months he says the article is defect & wants to send it back. But wants me to take over the return postage which is more higher than our postage in Germany.
    I thought customers outside your country should take over the return postage.
    Am i correct ???

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, you’re correct Emmanuel.

      1. Emmanuel from Germany

        does this also go for Ebay customers
        without me getting negative defekt from Ebay

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Yes, because you haven’t stated return period of 2 months, correct?

  37. Craig Moulds

    Hi Andrew

    In regards to refunding the delivery cost you say you only need to refund the cheapest delivery method. I offer free delivery by 2nd Class post on all my items with options to upgrade to 1st Class and Special Delivery. So if someone upgrades to 1st Class and my cheapest is free delivery does that mean I don’t refund the 1st Class delivery fee?

    Also if my return period is 30 days and a item I sell developes a fault after 60 days do I still have to accept a return or replace item even though I don’t offer warrenty and my return period is 30 days?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Craig,

      I guess you’re referring to eBay?

      As you need to separate CCRs and specific marketplace rules, like eBay rules.

      On eBay you have to refund the original delivery costs buyer paid you (doesn’t matter which method they used).

      If you would run your own online shop, you can specify in your returns policy that only minimal delivery charge would be refunded.

      As for warranty on faulty items after 30 days – eBay does not ask this but as per EU law, all business sellers have to provide a full 2 year (or more) warranty on everything they sell (with some exceptions):


      Not many people are aware of this directive but it is what it is.


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