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Know your rights when shopping online

by Gemma Melling

Shopping online can be a hassle free way to bag a bargain – and at this time of year, even more of us than usual are using the internet to buy goods and gifts in the run up to Christmas.

Now, as Black Friday fever grips the nation, we’re all being reminded of the rights we have when we buy online.

National Consumer Week is here to help

National Consumer Week takes place from November 26 to December 2. It’s an annual campaign, run by the Citizens Advice Bureau, which aims to raise people’s awareness of specific consumer issues.

This year the campaign focusses on our consumer rights when using online marketplaces, and offers guidance on what to do if something goes wrong.

What are my rights when shopping online?

If you are buying from an online trader your rights are the same is if you were buying from any other online store. These are:

  • You normally have up to 14 days after receiving your goods to change your mind and get a full refund.
  • If there’s a problem with your item within the first 30 days from when you bought it, you could get a refund, replacement or repair.
  • If it can’t be repaired or replaced, then during the first six months, in most cases, you are entitled to a full refund.

What if something goes wrong?

You should:

  • Contact the seller directly to try to resolve the issue.
  • Check the online marketplaces’ terms and conditions. They may have their own protection and dispute resolution systems.
  • Some traders belong to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme, which means they offer a way to solve the problem without going to court.
  • If you bought from a private seller, consider making a claim to the court – this is sometimes called a ‘small claim’.

Where can I go for more information?

Get advice from the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline at 03454 04 05 06 (03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language).

Visit the Citizens Advice website for more information on the campaign at www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ncw18​.

For more general consumer advice visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer.