Internet Guide Logo

Rights of return for Internet orders in the UK

Last Edit: 07/09/18

The statutory rights given to consumers are outlined in two important pieces of UK legislation: 1) Consumer Contracts Regulations (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) 2013; 2) Consumer Rights Act (2015). These pieces of UK legislation apply to Internet contracts (orders), and the Consumer Rights Act (2015) was created to legislate the purchase of digital goods (music, movies, games etc). When a consumer purchases goods from a retailer (trader) -- be it online or 'real world' -- they enter into a contract with them, and this contract is based upon the above pieces of UK legislation, which outlines the rights -- set by law -- that are given to the consumer.

Return of faulty goods: Up until 1st of October 2015, UK consumers were protected under the Sales of Goods Act, but this was replaced by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. The Consumer Rights Act can be read in full at the following address: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/contents/enacted. This act gives consumers the statutory right to a full refund, if the goods purchased were faulty, within 30 days of return. After 30 thirty days, and up to 6 months, the trader will have to repair or replace faulty goods, and if this is not possible then a full refund should be issued. After 6 months, the consumer will need to prove the goods were faulty when purchased to receive a full refund. For online orders, the timer starts when the goods were delivered and the consumer took ownership of it.

Unwanted items (Internet orders): For Internet orders, unwanted items were covered by Distance Selling Regulations 2000 and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008. Both can be read at the following addresses: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2000/2334/contents/made and https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2008/1816/contents/made. These two pieces of legislation were replaced by the Consumer Contracts Regulations (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) 2013, which came into force on the 13th of June 2014. The Consumer Contracts Regulations (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) 2013 can be read at the following address: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/3134/contents/made. The purpose of the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 legislation is to regulate how the majority of contracts are made between consumers and traders. The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 legislation outlines a cancellation period for contracts (orders) placed on the Internet -- referred to as ‘distance selling’. The cancellation period for ‘distance selling’ contracts lasts from the date of the order until 14 days after the consumer has received the goods. If the consumer notifies the trader of his rights to cancel -- within this period of time -- then the consumer must return the goods within 14 days of the notification to receive a full refund. The right to cancel does not apply to all goods (personalised items, perishable items, newspapers etc), and can be voided if the seal on the goods has been broken (dvd seal etc). The refund has to be issued within 14 days of the trader receiving the goods back. Consumers do not have to give a reason why they wish to cancel the contract: https://www.gov.uk/accepting-returns-and-giving-refunds.