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BizReport : : October 15, 2012

OFT: 40% of British websites not compliant with consumer protection law

When British regulator, the Office of Fair Trading, checked out the websites of many popular UK online retailers they found that 1 in 4 were not fully complying with consumer protection law.

by Helen Leggatt

Of the 156 websites checked by the Office of Fair Trading, 62 were found not to be compliant. Many still include restricted refund policies and added charges at checkout with no prior warning.

"The OFT recognizes that most businesses want to play fair with their customers and to comply with the law," said Cavendish Elithorn, a senior director at the Office of Fair Trading. "We encourage all online retailers to check their websites so customers can be confident their rights are being respected when they shop online."

Particular concern was expressed due to a third of the websites imposing "unreasonable restrictions" on refunds such as requiring purchases to be returned in the original packaging. While customers are required to return a product in reasonable condition, retailers can not require the packaging to remain intact as this hinders the ability for a purchase to be inspected.

The Office of Fair Trading has written to the 62 websites concerned asking them to rectify any problems before the holiday season gets into full swing.

Tags: consumer law, consumer protection, Office of Fair Trading, online retail, UK, website analysis

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