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Online Purchases: What are my Rights?

In the past 12 months we have bought more online than ever before. In November 2020, internet sales accounted for 36% of all sales. With the rise of click and collect services, we are buying more and more items which we have not actually seen before purchase.

So, for consumers, what does this mean if we want to return items bought online?

Under distance selling regulations, if you bought an item without seeing it, you can return it without providing a reason for the return. Online, mail and telephone order customers have the right to cancel their order for a limited time even if the goods are not faulty.

You must make it clear that you wish to cancel the order within 14 days of receiving the goods. 14 days is the minimum period that a seller must give you. You should check the terms and conditions in case they have given you more time to change your mind. Once you have informed the seller that you wish to cancel the order you then have another 14 days to return the goods.

You are entitled to a refund within 14 days of the goods having been returned.

These rules apply to items bought/sold within the UK. However, as the UK has now left the EU your consumer rights may have changed if you buy online from a company based in the EU.

The rules also don’t apply if you have bought something from a private individual rather than a business, or if you have bought:

  • something that deteriorates quickly – like flowers or food
  • an item that was personalised or custom-made for you
  • a CD, DVD or software, if you break the seal on the wrapping


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us on 0114 2256666 or at enquiries@shulaw.co.uk. We may be able to help.

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