Office of Fair Trading urges a third of online retailers to change websites to comply with consumer laws
Research by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has revealed that up to one third of the UK’s largest online retailers could be breaking trading laws. The research, which looked at the websites of 156 companies, found that 62 may be incompliant.
Areas which may be in breach of consumer laws include restricted refund policies and additional charges added without warning at the checkout.
Many companies operate with the policy that all products must be returned in their original packaging in perfect condition. The OFT has said that this can sometimes be in breach of the right of each buyer to fully assess their purchases.
60% of the sites did, indeed, warn customers of additional charges, but 24% of those checked did not inform customers beforehand of additional charges, such as credit card charges and booking fees.
The OFT has asked that companies make sure they are fully compliant with trading laws before the Christmas rush on online shopping.
Senior OFT director, Cavendish Elithorn, said: “The OFT recognises that most businesses want to play fair with their customers and to comply with the law. We encourage all online retailers to check their websites so customers can be confident their rights are being respected when they shop online.”
The boom in online shopping has led the OFT to warn retailers to make sure they are not shirking their legal obligations and have warned that companies who do not comply may face fines and court action.