Online Shopping: What to Do When It Goes Wrong

Online Shopping

Shopping online or through a catalog can be cheaper and easier than shopping in-store, but there are disadvantages. It’s all too easy to make a mistake when ordering goods online- sometimes fragile things aren’t properly packaged in bubble wrap, and sometimes you don’t get what you expected. There are rules and regulations in place to protect online, phone and mail-order shoppers.

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In this article, you’ll learn what to do when an online purchase doesn’t go as planned.

Your Rights as an Online Shopper

Under 2000’s Consumer Protection Distance Selling Regulations, you can cancel your online order at any time from when you place it, up to one week after you receive it. Some items, such as DVDs, CDs, and computer software aren’t returnable if they’ve been opened. Personalized or tailored goods typically can’t be returned, and neither can perishables such as flowers or food.

Returning or Exchanging an Unwanted Online Purchase

The online seller’s T&C should stipulate who pays return shipping costs, and if they don’t, the seller is responsible. Even if the terms and conditions say that you’re on the hook for return shipping, they cannot be unreasonable. For instance, a seller cannot make it so difficult or expensive to return something that it would be simpler or cheaper to just keep the item.

Returning a Defective Item

In addition to the rights online shoppers have, you have the same rights when buying online as you have when you buy in-store. The Sale of Goods Act says that an item must be as described, and fit for its purpose. If you receive an item that’s significantly not as the seller described, defective or fit for use, you have the right to return it and be reimbursed for shipping costs. When returning a broken or defective item, be sure to take pictures as proof, and to package it carefully (keep some cardboard boxes on hand for this purpose). If you are interested in learning more about Online Shopping, visit this dedicated website for useful information.

Canceling a Service Purchased Online

If you’ve bought a service such as a cell phone plan online, you have the right to cancel up to seven days after you sign the contract unless you’ve agreed to start the service immediately. Any company selling services online should give you advance notice of such a stipulation.

Protecting Yourself When Shopping Online

Under 2002’s Electronic Commerce Regulations, online sellers must outline the ordering process, and they must also allow buyers to check their information before submitting an order. If your order is confirmed it’s considered a binding contract, but a mere acknowledgment is not the same as a confirmation. Before you buy online, ensure that the seller offers a physical address, an email address, and a phone number as a means of contact.

Read the Terms and Conditions Carefully

Some online stores fix the price of your ordered item as of the day they’re shipped. Most online supermarkets do this, so if you’re ordering goods at half price, keep in mind that by the time they’re shipped the special deal may have ended. If you’re taken aback by a price hike, don’t worry, as the seller is required to give you the chance to cancel the order if you don’t want to pay the difference.

Buying online can be a convenient, inexpensive, and easy way to get things that may not be available locally, but there are potential risks you should be aware of. By knowing your rights and responsibilities, being aware of return procedures, and carefully reading purchase terms and conditions, your online purchase will go much more smoothly. We recommend visiting this dedicated website to learn more about all things online shopping!