The Distance selling regulations 2000
The Distance selling regulations 2000, otherwise referred to as the consumer protection regulations, blends European legislation regarding consumer protection into domestic UK statue law. These directives are applied when issues arise regarding contracts between consumers and suppliers, where distances are concerned(Like delivery of products from post order companies). Examples are online selling of goods, Ordering by phone, after which the purchased goods have to be shipped and delivered to the consumer.
The Distance selling regulations outline the obligations and rights of both parties involved, starting when the contract was created.
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A natural person, obtaining goods, services or products, for the purpose of using them, owning them without the intend to resell, or use those goods in a manufacturing process, as a part of this process, is defined as a consumer.
Rights of the consumer
Consumers automatically have the right to cancel any agreement at any time, since the contract was created until 7 days after delivery of the goods, service or products, and can be even before delivery even took place.
In case the supplier has not supplied all necessary information to the consumer, the latter automatically has the right to revoke the contract and declare it void. This needs to be done within 97 days after delivery of the goods or services.
After cancelation the supplier is required to refund the buyer, within 30 days, starting from the day, the cancelation was made known, including the costs of delivering the goods. On the other hand the consumer is required to provide the products in good condition to the supplier upon collection of these products. In order to collect the goods, the supplier has 21 days.
In addition the supplier, must perform the service or deliver the goods as stated in the contract within a thirty day period, after the contract was created. Failing to do so, will require the supplier to reimburse and notify the consumer. For this the supplier has a time limit of another thirty days.
A supplier is obligated to supply the following information, previous to forming a contract with a consumer:
In case of payment in advance, supplier is required to reveal his or her identity, and address, the service or product should be fully described to the consumer, the price should be mentioned including all taxes that are applicable to the purchase, delivery costs, if any, should be mentioned in advance, the complete terms of the payment should be made clear, the consumer must be made aware of his rights regarding cancellation, if applicable the costs of usage of the media used for communication, in order to create the agreement, must be made known to the consumer, The duration of the agreed terms must be made clear, and the minimum length of the contract must be known.
Enforcement of the Distance selling regulations 2000, is handled by the Office of Fair Trading. Consumer complaints, are processed by the Director-General, after which the Fair trade office will launch an investigation, and depending on the outcome, will act, by imposing injunctions and if required will take the matter to court.