The European Parliament recently approved changes associated with the rules and regulations regarding consumer protection when purchasing goods online. These are effective across Europe. These regulations must be enforced and in place by 2013.
So what should we be aware of…
Previously regulation stated that returns should be handled by email request. However, different sites interpreted this in different ways. By 2013 all sites selling product on-line must implement a standard returns form, simplifying the process for the consumer.
(2) Return Costs
So who pays for the return of goods?
If on-line stores expect the consumer to pay for the return of unwanted goods then they must state so clearly when the item is purchased, it can no longer be hidden in terms and conditions. They must also indicate the approximate cost of return for the goods.
(3) The Right to Withdraw
Gone is the seven working day cool off period. Consumers now have the right to return goods within 14 days for a full refund. This includes weekends and bank hols, no longer working days.
(4) Digital Goods refunds
The 14 day rule above now applies to digital download content, however, the right to request a refund is only enforceable up to the point of download. Once software or media has been downloaded it is too late.
(5) Clearer technical specification
A big change here is that it is now the responsibility of the SELLER to publish technical and minimum requirement for compatibility rather than the consumer.
(6) Refund period
The new regulation specifies that sellers have 14 days maximum to refund consumers.
(7) Pre-select options now banned
A common practice is to have add-ons pre-ticked, forcing the consumer to remove the tick. You may have sent his on things like additional insurance and options. Whilst pre-ticked boxes are still legal for marketing purposes (ie; where no charge is made) it will be illegal to use pre-ticked boxes for paid services.
You can read more on this subject <<here>>
Looks like some sites may need some significant changes before 2013!