Websites breach Distance Selling Regulations

The Office of Fair Trading has called on retailers to fully comply with consumer protection law on their websites. A study revealed potential breaches of the Distance Selling Regulations and other consumer protection laws. Many websites providing information on cancellation appear to impose unreasonable restrictions on customers’ rights to a refund (e.g. the rule requiring products to be in the original packaging or in the original condition). A large percentage of retail websites provide a web contact form rather than an email contact address, as required by the E-Commerce Regulations, and an admittedly tiny minority provide no electronic contact details at all.

The OFT said traders that do not make amendments to comply with the law risk formal enforcement action from the OFT or Local Trading Standards Services.For guidance see the OFT Distance Selling Hub and the YouTube video, ‘Buying online: know your consumer rights’.