Buying On Line - Know your rights

Added: Friday, February 12, 2016

Consumer Law

With the proliferation of purchasing items on line consumer law has had to evolve. There are now specific rules applicable to e-commerce, in particular;

 European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and other Rights) Regulations 2013 (Consumer Rights Regulations)
 European Communities (Directive 2001/31/EC) Regulations 2003 (E-Commerce Regulations

Consumer Rights Regulations

The primary objective of these regulations is to make the purchase process sufficiently transparent. The following is a list of information which the regulations oblige traders and online traders to provide to the consumer prior to a contract being finalised;

i. main characteristics of the goods and/or services
ii. full price or manner in which the price is calculated
iii. delivery charges
iv. identity and address of the trader

The regulations provide a fourteen day “cooling off period” for distance contracts. The consumer is entitled to cancel the contract and return the goods to the trader within the fourteen day period. There are however notable exceptions to this in particular where the contract is for personalized goods or where the contract is for services which have already been performed and the consumer consented to the services beginning and acknowledged that they would lose their right to cancel the contract once the contract had been fully performed.

The full list of contracts that the cooling off period does not apply are listed in Regulation 13(2) of the European Union (Consumer Information, Cancellation and other Rights) Regulations 2013 (Consumer Rights Regulations). 

E-Commerce Regulations

These regulation apply to business to consumer contracts and between business to business contracts. The regulations oblige online traders to provide particular information to consumers which must be presented in a manner that is easily, directly and permanently accessible to customers prior to an order being placed.

The regulations oblige online trader to acknowledge receipt of any orders placed without undue delay. The acknowledgement requirement can be satisfied through the use of a verification email or a confirmation screen that appears after the order has been successfully received by the online trader. Another obligation which the regulation place on online traders is for them to ensure that their Terms and Conditions of Sale are made available to customers in a manner which allows customers to store it and reproduce it if required.

Consumer law is a very complex area and we at John Nash Solicitors, Galway  have the expertise to advise you on all aspects of Consumer law.