When you buy something online from a UK based company your rights are the same as if you had bought from a shop. Once you have decided to buy something over the internet, be sure you know what is being sold, the total price, the delivery date, the return and cancellation policy, and the terms of any guarantee.
The law says that the goods must:
In addition, if the seller sells the goods in the course of a business (rather than a private sale), a criminal offence may have been committed if the goods are unsafe, or their description or price is false to a material degree. If you feel this may be the case, you should report the matter to a Citizens Advice Bureau or the, or in Northern Ireland.
You may have additional rights when you buy over the internet, including the right to:
These rights don't apply, for example, when buying:
If you used your credit card to pay for the goods and they cost more than £100 and less than £30,000, the credit card company may have equal liability, even if the company isn't based in the UK, in terms of section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
When you buy goods over the internet, your rights depend on what the law says in the country where the company is based. If the seller is based in a European Union country, you may have similar rights to those if the company is UK based.
If there is anything on the site that is misleading, indecent or dishonest, you can also complain to the Advertising Standards Authority.
For more information see oursection.
Other points to remember are:
Save all information possible relating to your order. This might include pages from the supplier's website (e.g. the advertisement), the completed order form, and any emails.
Suppliers in EU countries should provide you with key pieces of information before your order is finalised. For example, they have to give you the identity of the supplier, the main features of the goods or services, the price, the arrangements for payment and any rights you have to back out. All of this must be given in a clear and understandable way.
The supplier also has to send you confirmation of the order.
Be wary of giving out your bank account numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information to a company you don't know or haven't checked out. Don't provide information that isn't necessary to make a purchase.
Good companies are likely to have privacy statements on their websites. These will explain what they do with the information they have about you and how secure the information is.
Such companies will also allow you to say whether or not you want your information passed on to other companies.
Any company that sells or passes on details about you without your consent could be breaking UK and European law. Outside the EU, there may be little action you can take against, for example, a US-based company that has information about you.
You may have some extra protection if you pay by credit card. If you have a claim against the seller for breach of contract or misrepresentation - for example, if goods were not supplied, or were faulty - you may also have a claim against your credit card issuer. This could also be useful if the seller goes out of business.
This applies to goods or services costing more than £100 for one purchase (but less than £30,000), even if you have only used your card to pay a deposit. Note that it is the contract cost that must be more than £100; i.e. the total cost of the purchase, regardless of the number of items that make up that purchase.
Remember, you do not have the same protection if you pay by a debit or charge card.
Many companies allow you to send your credit card details via a secure (encrypted) page and you should aim to buy from companies that give you this choice.
You will be able to see on the screen whether the page you are on is secure. Often it will flash up a warning as you enter a secure page, and you might see a closed-padlock symbol in the status bar at the bottom of your browser window. If a padlock is not there, and there are no other guarantees, you should think twice about buying.
If someone uses your payment card (including debit, credit, charge or store cards) fraudulently to shop on the internet without your permission, you can cancel the payment and your card issuer must arrange for your account to be re-credited in full. If you find any unauthorised charges on your credit card bill, you should contact your credit card immediately.