Your Rights When Shopping Online

Priscilla De Paula (Student)

Every year on black Friday, shops are filled with people looking for good deals. This year however, COVID-19 changed this process, thousands of online shoppers were put on waiting lists as the websites could not deal with the number of people accessing online shops.

There are risks when purchasing online as consumers aren’t able to test the product or check if the picture of the product adequately describes what will be delivered. Furthermore, the delivery process can not only be delayed, but could also damage the products before arriving at the destination. What then are the consumer rights for online shoppers?

Online and distance selling companies are well instructed by the government on how to sell, what information to provide, how to tell the consumer their right to cancel and even how to register VAT. If these websites/companies do not follow government regulations, they will risk having to pay compensation or be given an unlimited fine. This does not apply to products worth less than £42. Although an online shopper is not able to see the product, and sometimes even can end up being misled by internet scams, there are certain steps they can take to be compensated for their loss.

Covid-19 has changed the way consumers shop and order services because now, 90% of what is bought is done online. Online shoppers are protected by the Consumer Rights Act and the Consumer Contracts Regulations. If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot agree with an online company about a faulty product or damaged goods, these are the steps to take:

  • Take photos and videos of the damaged or faulty product for evidence. If it is a service or if there is damage caused to your property due to what was bought, get an estimate of how much repairs will be
  • Call the seller and check if they have an official complaints procedure to make a formal complaint- if you are not happy with their response:
  • Ask your card provider or PayPal to help
  • Check if an Alternative Dispute Resolution is available to avoid going to court
  • Make a claim to the court if the problem is not yet resolved

At Staffordshire Legal Advice Clinic (SULAC) we offer free legal advice on consumer issues. Students are supervised by a qualified solicitor.

A free appointment can help you find out your rights and legal position.

Call us on 01782294800 or alternatively email us at SULAC@staffs.ac.uk for an appointment

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