Posted on
October 12th, 2012

OFT instruct online retailers to change their websites

Following a check of 156 popular UK websites by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), it has been reported that more than a third of those could be breaking consumer laws.

The OFT have found that of the 156 websites checked, 62 may not be complying fully with the consumer protection law. The checks revealed unreasonable restrictions on refunds being applied, along with compulsory charges being added at the online checkout without any prior warning or notification.

According to the OFT, the most common problem that the checks uncovered was retailers telling customers that to obtain a refund, goods must be in their original packaging or in their original condition, however, the OFT explained that this requirement could be in breach of the buyer’s right to inspect or assess a product.

On a more positive note, the survey revealed that most of the retail websites checked complied with their obligations under the distance selling regulations.

Cavendish Eilthorn, a senior director at the OFT said “The OFT recognises that most businesses want to play fair with their customers and to comply with the law,”

“We encourage all online retailers to check their websites so customers can be confident their rights are being respected when they shop online.”

The OFT have contacted all retailers who may be misleading consumers and these retailers have been asked to make any necessary changes before Christmas. Failure to comply with the laws could see retailers being taken to court and fined.

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