Changes to the Distance Selling Regulations - June 2014

distance selling regulations

There were some changes to the Distance Selling Regulations that kicked in from June this year. In case you missed it, we thought it might be worth doing a recap of the core points so you can make any changes before the Christmas peak.

Please note that the notes below are extracts relevant to ecommerce sales. We highly recommend you read the full Government documentation, via the link at the bottom of this article.

 

Cancellation Rights, Returns and Refunds

  • The cancellation period has extended from 7 calendar days to 14 calendar days
  • Consumers should return items within 14 days of cancellation
  • You can withhold refunds until the goods are returned or proof of return is provided
  • Merchants must refund within 14 days of cancellation or receipt of returned goods or provision of evidence of a return
  • Provided the consumer makes a clear statement they wish to cancel, it does not need to be in writing.
  • Merchants must make it clear that the consumer has to pay for return costs if they cancel
  • If the item is not normally returnable by post, merchants should give an indication of how much it might cost the consumer to return
  • Consumers do not need to give a reason for return
  • If a consumer selects a more expensive delivery option for their order, you do not have to refund the full delivery cost, you can refund based on the standard delivery option which the consumer could have chosen.
  • A merchant cannot deduct money for removal of packaging but can deduct for wear and tear where the item has not just been checked, but used.
  • Exceptions to the amended cancellation rights include bespoke and customised goods, goods that will deteriorate quickly, newspapers and magazines, goods sealed for hygiene reasons and sealed audio, video and software products.
  • Where goods were sent that were faulty, do not meet the description given or are not of satisfactory quality, the merchant must bear all costs in providing a replacement (including return and delivery charges)

 

Delivery

  • Delivery should be within 30 days unless otherwise agreed

 

Additional Payments

  • Tick boxes must not be pre-ticked where that option adds additional payment
  • Consumers will not be liable for costs that they have not been told about pre-contract

 

Calls

  • If you offer a helpline number, that number should not cost the customer anymore than basic rate to call
  • Standard geographical numbers starting 01, 02 and 03 comply
  • 0800 and 0808 numbers will soon comply
  • Mobile numbers comply

 

Returns

  • Merchants must make it clear that the consumer has to pay for return costs if they cancel
  • If the item is not normally returnable by post, merchants should give an indication of how much it might cost the consumer to return
  • Consumers do not need to give a reason for return

 

Terms and conditions

  • Terms and conditions must be provided to the consumer in a durable format and not later than the delivery of goods or start of service.
  •  A durable format is one that the customer can see the terms in an unchangeable format. Including a link to a web page for instance, is not a durable format as it can be changed at any time.
  • You could provide a printed copy of your terms with every delivery and keep a log of any changes and the dates the changes were made.
  • You could also include your terms and conditions as part of the order or delivery confirmation email. This is considered a durable format.

 

Payment

  • Online merchants must make it clear where there is an obligation to pay. They suggest using the words ‘pay now’ on the final payment button. This really only affects our clients if you’re using Paypal Pro or SagePay Direct – all other payment gateways have final payment buttons outside of our control.

You can read the official Government Guidance pdf here


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