60% of UK shoppers are unaware of online rightsConsumers remain unsure of rights legislation

16 March 2010

Shopping online

You have a seven- day cooling-off period

Almost two-thirds of consumers are less likely to return faulty goods bought online, figures from a government-sponsored survey reveal.

This is despite the fact that goods or services purchased over the internet, by telephone or through other forms of distance selling are subject to the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000.

Under the legislation, if a consumer decides that he or she no longer wants the goods they can cancel the order - without stating the reason for the cancellation - within a seven working day cooling-off period.

Find out more about buying online in our Shopping Safely Online Advice Guide

Commenting on the finding, consumer minister Kevin Brennan said: “There has been a huge revolution in how people buy goods. We are now Europe’s biggest online shoppers, so it’s important we all know that most online goods can be returned with no questions asked within seven days.

“We want confident consumers who can assert their rights and get a good deal.

How to cancel an online order  

To cancel the order, shoppers must inform the vendor in writing – by letter, fax or email. If the goods or services have already been paid for, the seller must refund your money as soon as possible or within 30 days of you cancelling the agreement.

Additional findings

The One Poll survey, carried out on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, also found that over three quarters (77%) of UK consumers did not know that there were differences between online and high street consumer rights, and that more than one in 10 ( 13%) admitted to being unsure of their consumer rights.

In addition, over a third (40%) of the 3,000 adults surveyed thought retailers had the right to refuse to give a refund if the consumer did not provide a receipt and 10% believed that goods could not be returned to a shop once they’ve left the store.

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