Which? finds online shops breaking consumer rulesBig name shops pledge to change terms

29 July 2010

Online shopping 1

You have extra protection shopping online

Big high street chains are pledging to change their terms and conditions following a Which? investigation that revealed a quarter broke consumer protection rules for shopping online.

Which? checked the terms and conditions of 83 shops and found that a quarter were not compliant with the Distance Selling Regulations. Breaches of the rules included not refunding delivery charges for consumers returning items. 

Check out the best as voted for by more than 10,000 Which? members in our survey.

Online shops broke Distance Selling Rules

Under the Distance Selling Regulations, consumers are entitled to cancel their order anytime from placing it, up to seven working days from the day after they receive it. We found online shops such as BHS, Cargo and Habitat giving less time to cancel furniture orders. 

You can see which shops on the high street were voted best for buying homewares and garden furniture in the UK's biggest ever shopping survey.

If you cancel your order within this timeframe you're also entitled to a refund of your original postage costs - but shops including Next and Peacocks didn't do this. Guidance from the Office of Fair Trading has always insisted this be the case, and a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice has meant that all EU shops must refund the original delivery charge.

Follow our guide if you want to cancel an online order and get your money back.

BHS, Peacocks, Next and Habitat pledge changes to terms

Some shops, including Next, BHS, Peacocks and Habitat, have pledged to change their terms to ensure they are following the rules. 

We were told by others that the terms related to items being returned outside of the legal cancellation period under the Distance Selling Regulations - but this was not made clear.

Which? shopping expert Sarah Dennis said: ‘It’s amazing that some big names are still denying consumers their full legal entitlement when ordering online. Which? will continue to check terms to ensure you’re not being misled.’ Take a look at free Which? advice to ensure you know your .

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