Media Release: Oswalds warns that time is running out for online retailers

Andrew Cockburn allmedia

COMPANY formation specialist, Oswalds, a Jordans Group company, has warned that any business selling through the internet has until 13th June to make important changes to its website and acknowledgement email – or risk potential cancellation nightmares.

Begins a spokesperson: “With the online share of the retail market approaching the 20 per cent mark, the UK has just weeks to come into line with new EU-based laws on the cancellation rights of other European consumers.

“Consumers will then have a 14-day ‘cooling off period’ to replace the current seven-working days one.

“But if online retailers don’t make those terms clear on their website, consumers could have up to 12 months to enjoy a ‘money-back’ cancellation right.”

Oswalds director, Andrew Cockburn, said: “It’s not just online retailers who will be impacted by the changes: stores taking orders for ‘non day-to-day’ items will have to change their paperwork too, as will car dealers and those who sell goods and services on people’s ‘doorsteps’.

“This is a potential minefield. Many businesses seem unaware of the alterations they need to make – and many companies have tried to make the changes, but done so incorrectly. It is particularly important for ‘doorstep’ sellers to comply as, in their case, they can face possible criminal prosecutions.”

Cockburn predicts that the changes could herald a bonanza for website companies, because many retailers won’t have the access rights or technical skills to make the necessary amendments, which include everything from the terms and conditions section of the website through to the ‘order now’ button.

“Those selling downloads online could also be hit,” he said. “The changes mean that consumers will not have a right to cancel once a download has started – provided that the retailer has informed them of this and obtained their explicit acknowledgement. However, the retailer can really lose out if they fail to do this.

“Once a person has downloaded an app, track or game, for instance, they could then cancel the sale and get a refund. The regulations are very explicit on this and say the customer does not have to pay.”

A particular problem faces those selling ‘non day-to-day’ goods in shops, garages and other retail outlets.

“They now have to give certain written information to customers – though there is no precise definition of what a ‘day-to-day’ item is in the new regulations,” said Cockburn.“It’s fair to say that the guidelines are very vague in places.”

Part of the Jordans Group, Edinburgh-based Oswalds provides Scottish clients within the legal, accountancy and wider professional business communities with direct access to a comprehensive range of expertise and services throughout the UK.


For further information please contact Andrew Cockburn at Oswalds tel 0131 557 6966

Issued on behalf of Oswalds by Liquorice Media tel 0141 297 1699.

Date: 28th May 2014

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