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08th June 2018

Selling online, by phone or mail

Legal obligations when selling online, by phone or email. 


Did you know, 2 in 5 consumers abandon an online order due to delivery complications or costs?  

As a retailer selling items or services online, by phone or by mail, you have to comply with legislation, in terms of delivering items to consumers. Failure to comply with these obligations may not only mean you could lose consumers who are unhappy with your delivery charges and terms, but you could also be prosecuted.

What the law says

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 requires all retailers to clearly provide delivery information to consumers.  

As a retailer, you must:

  • Inform your consumers about delivery charges and terms and conditions no later than the beginning of the ordering process;
  • Avoid offering ‘free or standard’ delivery to the ‘UK’ or ‘Mainland UK’ if this is not available to every postcode in these jurisdictions. Clearly indicate at the beginning of the ordering process if restrictions apply;
  • Ensure information about delivery charges and terms is be clearly indicated. Otherwise the consumer may be entitled not to pay; and
  • State who is responsible for the return of items if unsuitable.

The Consumer Rights Act (2015) outlines what consumers are entitled to and provides advice to retailers on how to achieve this.

As a retailer you:

  1. Are responsible for the condition of the item until received by the consumer (or other nominated person);

  2. Must deliver the item within 30 days, unless a longer period is agreed; and

  3. Are responsible for the services carried out by the couriers you have engaged to deliver the item. If a consumer has a problem with the delivery, you are responsible for resolving the issues with the courier.

Remember: In most cases, a consumer has the right to cancel items from when the order is placed until 14 days after delivery, unless you choose to exceed this in your Terms and Conditions.