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28 April 2010

Consumers who return goods purchased online or over the telephone must be able to recover any initial delivery costs as well as the price paid for the goods following a recent case before the ECJ. However the cost of returning the goods can still be passed on to the consumer.

The case concerned the interpretation of the Distance Selling Directive Articles 6 (1) & (2) which allows a consumer to cancel a contract within 7 days, without incurring any charges.

Currently many sales terms require consumers to forfeit any delivery costs they might have paid when they bought the goods. It now seems likely that companies will need to change their terms – and some who might have relied on a customer’s reluctance to pay postage to avoid the full cost of returns may finally have to take the legislation seriously.  For companies that supply large items to customers such as sofas, fridges and household furniture this is likely to increase the cost of doing business online.

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