What consumer rights exist when shopping online?


When you purchase goods or services within the UK, you are protected by UK consumer legislation. Due to the additional complexities of online shopping, the UK government introduced specific rules covering online selling. The Distance Selling Regulations 2000 cover goods or services sold without face-to-face contact, including sales over the internet. Under these regulations, consumers have various rights which can be enforced against the seller. These are in addition to the normal rights under the Sale of Goods Acts and include the following.

Right to information

The regulations set out a seller’s obligation to provide clear information about the goods or services online. This is why you will see on websites that businesses generally provide a photograph of the goods along with a detailed description. Usually, the description provided online will be much greater than it would be otherwise, as it has the replace the ability of the consumer to inspect the item visually and physically.

Delivery period

Under the regulations, the goods must be delivered within thirty days, unless agreed otherwise.

Cooling off period

A ‘cooling off period’ applies for certain types of items. This allows the consumer to cancel the contract for any reason within 7 days from receiving the goods or 7 days from ordering services.

Online contracts

E-commerce regulations apply to online contracts, setting out the requirements for a binding online contract. For example, certain information must be contained within the contract. If you want to get out of a contract that you believe does not meet the regulations, speak to a consumer rights lawyer for legal advice.

Online payments

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a worldwide security standard which requires businesses to do various things in order to be compliant and to protect cardholders’ details.

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