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the Christmas boom – or bust?

12 October 2012

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has written to 62 retailers after checks of retail websites found breaches of consumer law including:

  1. Charges being added without prior warning at checkout;
  2. Inaccurate information on consumer rights e.g. that returned goods must be in their original packaging in order to claim a refund; and
  3. A failure to clearly set out the retailer’s contact details on the website.

This report shows that regulators do take an active interest in retail sales material. Companies should make sure they are aware of, and up to date, on consumer protection law. All online retailers are encouraged to check their websites before the Christmas boom. A failure to remedy problems may result in formal enforcement action by the OFT or Trading Standards.

Consumers need to be confident that their rights are being respected when they shop online. Failure to comply may result in non-compliant retailers facing the unwelcome risk of being ‘named and shamed’ in the run up to Christmas!

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