With online shopping UK figures showing a dramatic recovery
from the dotcom crash of 2000, it is important for consumers to
know their rights when shopping online.
It is important to remember that when you are buying online,
you have the same rights as when you are buying in a shop. So if
the goods are faulty, are not of satisfactory quality, do not
match their description, or simply do not arrive then you still
have legal protection.
If the seller is based in another European Union country, you
may have the same or similar rights as in the UK. On the other
hand, if the seller is based outside the European Union, your
rights will depend on that country's legislation.
Bank Card Protection
In addition, purchases made with Bank cards are protected by UK
law wherever you buy goods from. If something goes wrong, it is
quicker to go straight to the merchant, but if there is no
redress you should contact your Bank or credit card issuer.
Therefore, it is important to have a contact number and postal
address for the retailer. When you make a purchase, you should
also print out the confirmation screen as a receipt and make
sure you know the value of the purchase in sterling if buying in
a foreign currency.
Buying From Abroad
The Office of Fair Trading warns consumers to be aware of
different standards between countries especially electrical
goods. You should also ensure that the guarantee is valid in the
Check also for possible hidden costs such as VAT, custom duties,
delivery charges, postage and packaging. And don't assume that
an internet company is in the UK just because its web address
has 'UK' in it.
If you don't receive adequate redress from the merchant or Bank
card issuer, you can contact relevant consumer bodies.
If false marketing statements are made, contact the Advertising
Standards Authority, Trading Standards, or a solicitor can be
seen as a last resort.
So if you know your rights, online shopping in the UK can be as
safe as popping into the corner shop.