National Consumer Week is a yearly campaign which raises awareness of specific consumer issues. Every year covers a different topic and in previous years, the campaign has promoted awareness of issues such as electrical safety, subscription traps, and consumer rights. This year’s campaign takes place the week beginning 26 November. We’ll be focussing on online marketplaces and the rights of consumers using them.
What are your rights?
If you’re buying from an online trader your rights are the same as if you were buying from any other online store.
- You normally have up to 14 days after receiving your goods to change your mind and get a full refund.
- If there is a problem with your item within the first 30 days from when you’ve bought it, you could get a refund, replacement or repair.
- If it can’t be repaired or replaced, then during the first 6 months in most cases you’re entitled to a full refund.
If you’re buying online from an individual seller, the principle of ‘buyer beware’ applies.
- Goods have to be how they were described to you by the seller, but the seller doesn’t have to disclose any faults.
- The seller can’t misrepresent goods though – for example claiming something used is brand new.
What you can do if you have a problem?
Contact the seller to try to resolve the issue.
Check the online marketplaces’ terms and conditions. These will sometimes offer you more protections.
If the seller arranged delivery, and the item hasn’t turned up or was delivered to the wrong location, it’s the seller’s legal
responsibility to sort out the issue.
Some traders belong to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, which means they offer a way to solve your
problem without going to court.
What if I have a problem with a private seller?
Try to resolve the issue by contacting the seller directly first, but if you can’t:
- Check whether the online marketplace has their own protection and dispute resolution systems.
- Consider making a claim to the court – this is sometimes called a ‘small claim’.