What are your consumer rights when shopping online?

15 March 2023

With improved prices, better selections, and increased accessibility for consumers online, the e-commerce share of retail has soared exponentially across the globe in recent years. You can essentially buy anything online now, even your car – the options today are truly limitless. But how many consumers truly understand their rights, if a product or service doesn’t meet their expectations? 

To mark ‘Consumer Rights Day’ we’ve decided to delve a little deeper into must-know legal insights, and how to exercise these if you have a problem with a digital purchase.


Right to clear information

When shopping online, consumers have the right to clear and accurate information about the products or services being offered. This includes information about the price, quality, and any potential hazards associated with a product. The seller must provide all relevant information to the consumer, and any hidden charges or fees should be clearly disclosed. This is one of the many reasons BeFibre prides itself on cutting through the noise and giving you clear detail – every time.


Right to cancellation

As an online shopper, you have the right to cancel your order within a certain timeframe, typically within 14 days of receiving the product (this is what we offer at BeFibre). This is known as the “cooling-off” period. During this time, you can change your mind and cancel your order without having to provide a reason. You may be required to pay for the return shipping, but the seller must refund the full purchase price.


Right to a refund or replacement

We’ve all been there – your new toaster doesn’t toast or your new mirror arrives cracked! If you receive a defective or faulty product, you have the right to a refund or replacement. The seller must either repair, replace or offer a full refund for a faulty product. In some cases, the seller may require the product to be returned before a refund or replacement is provided.


Right to privacy

Cover your unmentionables! Online shoppers have the right to privacy, and their personal information should be protected. The seller must adhere to data protection laws and obtain consent before collecting and using personal information, as well as provide information about how personal information will be used and stored. GDPR regulations protect anyone in the UK – even if you’re buying from a country where GDPR isn’t in place.


Right to dispute resolution

If a dispute arises between the consumer and the seller, the consumer has the right to dispute resolution. This may involve mediation or arbitration, and the process may be facilitated by a third-party organization. If a resolution cannot be reached, the consumer may be able to take legal action.


Right to protection against fraud

Online shoppers have the right to protection against fraud and scams – quite rightly. The seller must take steps to protect their customers from fraudulent activities, such as phishing or identity theft. If fraud occurs, the seller may be held liable for any losses suffered by the consumer.


Right to fair and non-discriminatory treatment

Online shoppers have the right to fair and non-discriminatory treatment. The seller must not discriminate against customers based on their age, gender, race, or other characteristics. They must treat all customers fairly and provide equal access to products and services.


As an online shopper, it is important to be aware of your rights to ensure that you are protected and treated fairly by retailers – particularly as e-commerce continues to grow at pace.


With this insight, you can make informed decisions and take appropriate action if necessary. By advocating for your consumer rights and holding sellers accountable, we can create a safer and more trustworthy online marketplace.

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