It is quite shocking how many retailers still
do not comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information,
Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (CCRs) which actually came
into force in 2014. Indeed, for some businesses non-compliance
appears to be a deliberate commercial decision based upon the
assumption that a wronged consumer will not bother to take any
action. For the wronged consumer, just how difficult is it to
enforce your rights when a retailer does not comply with consumer
Here is my experience:
A few weeks ago I purchased various items on-line from a
well-known retailer who regularly advertises on TV. Before the
items were delivered I decided I did not really want them so I
exercised my right of cancellation under the CCRs, not that the
retailer had advised how to exercise these rights as required by
the CCRs. Worse still, the retailer then deducted £89 from my
refund on the basis that their terms and conditions allowed them to
charge a cancellation fee. I pointed out that under the CCRs, so
long as I cancelled within the cancellation period (which runs
until 14 days after delivery), I was entitled to a full refund, no
matter what their terms said. Despite my protests it was clear that
the retailer operated some sort of a "no refund in any
circumstances" policy. Furious, therefore, I issued legal
proceedings in the small claims court for the return of my
Whilst I am a solicitor, I am no litigator and have not done any
since my training way back in the last millennium. From what I
remember though it all seemed rather complicated back in those days
and full of strange terms like "plaintiff",
"writ" and "summons". I was therefore amazed at
how simple making a small claim turned out to be.
You go to the small claims court website, which is quite easy to
find online, register, fill in details of the retailer, set out
details of your claim in your own words, pay a court fee (in my
case £25) and press send. The whole process took about 25
minutes. Two weeks later, I received a phone call from the retailer
agreeing to refund my £89 and pay my court fee. Result!
Consumers, if you've been wronged by retailers not properly
consumer laws, it is really easy to take legal action.
Retailers, comply with the law or find yourselves the subject of
If you are a retailer and need help in complying with consumer
laws, do get in touch. Indeed if you comply properly, you will not
always have to make a full refund.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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On Monday 15 February 2016 the European Commission will launch their new platform for Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). Rather than resolve disputes, the new platform has been designed to channel disputes to the appropriate alternative dispute resolution (ADR) scheme in a relevant country.
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