Consumer Rights Act 2022
What are your rights when purchasing online?
Consumer rights have now been updated, in the age of the internet, by new legislation introduced in November 2022.
These enhanced rights only apply to purchases, online or otherwise, made after 29th November 2022.
When you buy any product in a shop you acquire certain rights and these also apply online. However, the Consumer Rights Act 2022, gives an online purchaser additional right such as:
- The right to full details about the seller and product itself.
- The right to know the full price and how that is calculated.
- The right to be informed of any extra charges e.g., delivery.
- The right to cancel the contract.
You have the right to receive all this information in plain language before you buy it and after you buy it, you must receive a copy of the sales contract or confirmation order.
Most importantly, you have the right to cancel within 14 days of the online purchase and this is known as the “cooling off period”. You are not obliged to tell the seller why you have changed your mind and wish to cancel within the 14 days. You are then entitled to a full refund. A seller can be penalized if he withholds information about the cooling off period.
Do bear in mind that you have no cooling off period for:
- Personalised products such as a T shirt with name impressed.
- Products with a very short shelf life.
- Leisure services that are purchased for a specific date such as concert bookings or hotel bookings.
- Bus, rail or air travel.
Some online sellers will cover the cost of postage when returning their goods but in many cases, you have to pay it yourself. If the seller never told you, before your purchase, that you would have to pay the return costs, then a new right entitles you to claim this cost back from the seller.
Many consumers are aggrieved when an online purchase arrives very late on the doorstep. The seller has 30 days to deliver your item, or it must be delivered on a particular date if you have agreed with him. You have the right to demand a new delivery date from him but if he cannot comply with this new delivery date, you have the right to end the contract.
If it doesn’t suit you to nominate a new delivery date, e.g., for a birthday or wedding, you can also end the contract. Tell the seller you are ending the contract for non-delivery, and you have the right to a full refund within 14 days.
Most consumers at this stage have experienced delivery of faulty goods or poor services. The new act provides that all online products or services must meet certain conditions of quality and performance as described in your contract. If you find that the product on delivery does not conform to what you expected, you have the right to either a repair, replacement, price reduction or refund.
We all know it can be difficult to get money back from online or other retailers, so if the seller cannot or will not sort your problem or refund you, you should:
- Contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission – https://www.ccpc.ie/
- Get on to your bank to get a refund through their Chargeback system.
- Use the Small Claims Court, which is very informal but effective.
- Contact your solicitor if the value of the product is within the District Court jurisdiction.