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With the days to Christmas ticking down, many shoppers will prefer to stay online instead of braving long queues and bad weather. Even if you think you could get better deals on the high street, it’s likely you’ll have the disappointment of getting to a store to find what you wanted has sold out. Online shopping gives you the flexibility to shop whenever and wherever you want and be updated when an item comes back in stock.

There are numerous other advantages to shopping online – you actually have more rights when you shop like this. Find out what they are here.

Some extra rights

Shopping online is different to in store because you can’t see the product until it arrives. This gives you extra powers – the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

• When you place an order online, you get a 14-day cooling-off period to change your mind even before you get the delivery. Once you get the goods, you have another 14 days to send them back and get a full refund without having to offer a reason or explanation.

• Sellers must give easy-to-understand information about the product or service before you buy it.

• This information should be available in writing once you’ve bought as well.

• You can get a refund if the goods don’t turn up on or before the delivery date and if the seller didn’t give you a date, you can still get your money back if they don’t arrive within 30 days. 

Be aware that these rights apply when you buy online from the UK. If you shop abroad, at an auction or buy from a private seller, you have fewer rights and less protection. What’s more, you could be at risk of online cyber fraud if the seller isn’t reputable. 

There are exceptions to these Regulations and these include: 

• perishables like flowers or food,

• personalised items,

• CDs, DVDs or games once you’ve removed their plastic,

• financial products – these are covered under the Financial Services Regulations,

• online auctions, and

• the sale of land. 

Extra protection with Section 75

Whether you shop online or in store, paying by credit card offers another form of protection on the product or service you bought. Anything you buy that costs between £100 and £30,000 is covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. This means that your card provider is equally liable with the retailer to ensure you receive the item.

You don’t even have to put the whole of the cost of the item on your credit card – just as long as it’s worth between £100 and £30,000. So if the seller goes bust or the product never turns up, you can either claims through the seller or your card provider.

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