Online retailers hit by Distance Selling Regulations

Customers will now have to 'receive' information regarding refunds and cancellations.
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The European Court of Justice has passed a new ruling which could affect online toy retailers.

Under the Distance Selling Regulations, which apply to those shopping online, consumers must be given basic information such as how to cancel an order and get a refund.

But a new ruling says that customers must ‘receive’ this information – it’s no longer enough for the details just to be displayed on a website. This means retailers can’t be certain if they’ve banked the cash from a sale for three months, as the customer could ask for a refund during that time.

Vanessa Barnett from law firm Charles Russell LLP said: “It is vital for all online retailers to audit their sales process and terms and conditions for compliance with Distance Selling Regulations. 

"Although this sounds like a small administrative point, essentially the difference between a consumer actively being given important information or being told where to find it, the consequences of not getting it right are material - it essentially extends a consumer's cancellation rights period to months rather than a week.

"This is good news for consumers because it will create an environment where consumer rights are better known and easier to exercise, which ultimately will lead to fewer disputes.

“Retailers should bear in mind other changes on the horizon which affect online retail such as the Consumer Rights Directive and data protection reform. There is no better time than now to have an online heath check of your retail business.”

The UK generated £50.34 million in online sales last year, according to research commissioned by Kelkoo.

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