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Online Shopping Part 4 - What Can You Do?

In this fourth and final post of this series, we will conclude by asking:

Question 4

Lawyer asks "What remedies exist?"

Layman asks "So what can I do?"

Let's start by summarising what we've established so far. Put simply, you need to answer 4 questions to establish and use your rights:

1) Is there an agreement?

2) What is the agreement?

3) Has it been broken? And if so;

4) What can I do about it?

1. To answer Question 1, we considered whether the 3 ingredients of offer, acceptance and consideration (something in return) present. If so, then you can utilise your rights as a consumer.

2. In Question 2 we established what was agreed – what delivery terms were promised? Were any exclusions mentioned that might apply? Were any terms and conditions referred to? Look at these to establish the terms of your agreement, and whether there has been a breach. Additional protections also exist under the Consumer Rights Act and Consumer Contracts Act.

3. Question 3 dealt with whether the seller has done what the agreement said they would; done anything that the agreement said they would not do; and otherwise broken the law.

So, onto, what you can do.

4. Your first port of call should always be to contact the seller directly and explain that you think there has been a breach of the contract/law, and tell them what you want, whether that's to cancel your order, obtain a refund, or compensation. Sometimes a back-and-forth exchange will result in them reasoning with you and either giving you want you want or some sort of concession. Also not a 'legal' solution, but one many find success with, is using social media to voice what has happened and see if they will provide a better response that way - Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can all be extremely effective channels for getting retailers to pay attention.

If however they refuse to co-operate, or you're not happy with their response, there are a few things you can do, and you should try them out in this order:

i) Make a formal complaint. The retailer or delivery company might have a particular procedure for this set out on their website. You should explain what happened, why you’re unhappy with the service, and refer to any terms of the contract or the Consumer Rights Act that have been breached.

ii) Consider whether you can contact your card provider for the card you paid with, or PayPal, to ask them for a refund under the ‘chargeback scheme’. This is only available if you paid for a service that wasn’t provided or the company you purchased from went bust and didn’t deliver your parcel. Also note this is at the discretion of the card provider/PayPal, and not a legal obligation on them to provide.

iii) Contact the retailer’s trade association if they belong to one. If you think there has been a breach of the law you can also report them to your local Trading Standards office, although this probably won’t get you a refund or compensation.

iv) Alternative dispute resolution – if the above hasn’t worked, some retailers have specific schemes that can be followed to resolve disputes. If you paid online, through social media, or text, you can initiate this through the EU Online Dispute Resolution Platform. Otherwise check the seller’s website or terms and conditions.

v) Your final resort is to issue a court claim, but this is costly and a lengthy process and depending on the value of the delivery may not be worth it. Make sure to exhaust all other solutions first.

And that concludes the end of this series on knowing your legal rights when online shopping. We hope you found this useful! Let us know how you get on using our guidance.

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Best wishes and safe shopping.


Your KYR Team


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