News item

When Santa is late

Online shopping continues to increase, on average UK households this year are predicted to spend online £174 of their £682 Christmas budget, according to research conducted by the Centre for Retail Research for price comparison website, Kelkoo.

You have certain additional rights when you buy goods or services without face-to-face contact, so if you have ordered Christmas gifts online and they fail to arrive by the big day, what can you do?

Sonia Payne, Legal Advisor for the UK European Consumer Centre, hosted by the Trading Standards Institute says: “When you buy goods online you generally have more rights than when you buy them in a shop. This means that, in most circumstances, if an order is delivered too late, you can return it for a full refund within seven working days starting from the day after the goods were delivered. The same is true if the goods are not suitable for any reason, for example, if an article of clothing doesn’t fit. There are some exceptions to this, for example personalised goods, CDs, DVDs or computer games which you have unwrapped.

“EU Distance Selling Legislation (the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 in the UK) states that goods purchased online (or via any other distance means, such as mail order or telephone order) must be delivered within 30 days unless a longer period of time is agreed between the consumer and trader. These rights apply to all distance purchases in the EU as well as Iceland and Norway, and if the goods don’t arrive within that time you should be offered a full refund.  However, you should be aware that these rules do not apply if the goods are ordered from elsewhere in the world, for example from the USA or the Far East.

“You should read the terms and conditions on any website carefully, as these will form part of the contract you have agreed to when placing your order, and these may well state that no delivery date can be guaranteed when approaching Christmas.  You will still be able to return the goods when they arrive, under the Distance Selling Regulations, but you are very unlikely to be able to make any claim against the company for late delivery unless this was a specific term of your contract agreed by both parties”