E-Commerce and the Law...

Shipping-7-icon_256.pngDistance Selling Regulations
The Distance Selling Regulations 2000 are designed to protect customers who are not physically present with the seller at the time of purchase. They cover purchases made via email and the Internet, together with telephone and mail order.

They only apply to transactions between businesses and consumers (individuals acting outside the course of their business) and do not include business-to-business contracts and auctions.

Under the Regulations, consumers have the right to:

  • Details in writing about the supplier and the terms of the transaction
  • Written confirmation of their orders
  • Further information, including a notice of cancellation rights, the complaints procedure, after-sales services and guarantees
  • Delivery within 30 days unless otherwise agreed

Consumers have a cooling-off period of seven working days in which to cancel the contract, starting from when the goods are received, without having to give a reason. If no details of the cooling-off period have been given by the supplier to the consumer, it is extended to three months.

The right to withdraw can be exercised by the consumer even after the goods have been delivered, or the services have been provided. The consumer is entitled to receive a full refund for a cancelled contract within 30 days.

There are some exceptions to these rights of cancellation, including:

  • Contracts for the provision of accommodation, transport, catering or leisure services, where these services are supplied on a specific date or for a specific period
  • The sale of customised goods or perishable goods
  • Sealed audio or video recordings, or software, which has been opened
  • Sales by auction

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