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Online shopping in the U.K.?

Maclara

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Hey, I dont know if its allowed but I need your help
. I am a student from the netherlands and I am going to move to the U.K. - So I´ve got a flat but I just want to know where I can get my stuff in the U.K. I visited several shops in my town but the prices are really high - no real alternative. My best friend told me to order clothes on "shopping" (seems to be ebay) and amazon, because I already know them from the netherlands. He said that I shouldnt use "unknown" shops at the beginning because of the different return laws. Is he right? What would you say? Thanks everyone I am looking forward to the next 3 months.
 

BlackShoes

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The Distance selling regulations, allow for a seven day cooling off period. So if you buy something, try it on, and just decide you hate it, you can return it to the shop, without having to give a reason. This is true for any product, as long as you return it in a saleable condition.

The corollary of this is; buy with confidence, you can't go wrong. However, online shopping is hardly complicated, why would you need to ask advice for this?
 

Avocat

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A student in the U.K.? How very exciting, and congratulations on the commencement of your studies! Yes, generally speaking, e-tailers must accept a return of items you're not satisfied with when buying over the Internet. Each place has its own rules on this, and in the UK it's the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. These regs recommend a return period of 7 working days, within which the consumer can return their goods without giving a reason. This is so because, when you buy goods online, you're buying them based on the seller's description and/or a picture. It may thus be the case that the item(s) you ordered, a) doesn't fit or b) isn't what you expected (i.e., not as described and/or depicted or whatever, right?). Hence, the "cooling off" period (as BlackShoes accurately describes). This period may be--and often is--extended by a seller, in its own discretion. If requesting an exchange or a refund, you must return the items to the seller in the same condition in which you received them--e.g., if you're trying on a pair of new shoes, be sure to try them on in a carpeted area so as not to scuff the leather soles. Each seller will set out, on its website, the procedures for you to follow in requesting of it a refund or exchange (so be sure to review the terms). As a general rule, if you decide to return an item, be aware that you'll likely have to "eat" the cost of shipping, unless the seller sent the item to you in error (i.e., sent the wrong size by mistake). All of this and more will be (and should be) spelled out to you by sellers on their websites. You will typically find these terms under a heading, entitled: "terms and conditions" (T&Cs). As to recommended e-shops, that depends on what you are looking for. If it's shoes and/or boots, you might want to check out the following: Shipton & Heneage (14 day return policy) Pediwear (30 day return policy) There are of course many others, but I have no qualms in recommending these two to you in the event you're looking for a spiffy and well-made pair of shoes/boots to roam around your campus in, and/or prep for an interview when the time is right. (Oh, what fun!) I'm sure other members would be pleased to direct you to other e-shops, etc. they've personally dealt with--thus helping you to get sorted--on learning what it is you need and/or want (in accordance with your current needs as a student, and beyond). All the best in your studies! tl/DR: The Regs recommend a return period of 7 working days, within which buyers can return their goods without giving a reason, but many e-sellers offer an extended period in which to do so. Before placing an order online, be sure to read the seller's T&Cs.
 

Maclara

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Hey!
Wow thanks for your replies!
I did not expected such a detailed reply! Thanks!


A student in the U.K.? How very exciting, and congratulations on the commencement of your studies!
Thanks!
I am going to make an internship first and then maybe a semester abroad (when I dont want to go
)

Okay,I am glad - the law seems to be quite similar as in Holland. So I must not limit my online shopping addiction.

A very last question: Whats about eBay?
I surfed yesterday night on the page I postet at the beginning and most of the offers there are linked to ebay. Now I found this furniture for my new flat (which is frighteningly empty right now). Has eBay.co.uk the same return policy like .nl ?

Sorry for my beginner questions but the terms and conditions are always so confusing and I'm so afraid of making a mistake
.

Thanks!
 

Avocat

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You're welcome, and my pleasure. Generally speaking, and for general informational purposes only without rendering a legal opinion or advice [or any opinion or advice whatsoever, with the further disclaimer also that I am not a licensed attorney in the UK but in North America, and as such speaking in the utmost generalist of terms here, for informational purposes as above said (which I have to say, right?)], business sellers who sell to consumers in the UK are bound by the rules as pertains to the UK. Regs applies to all but certain specified goods (seems to include Ebay.uk commercial shops, but not if you win an item as a result of a successful bid): To put it another way, and generally speaking, when business sellers enter into online contracts with UK residents, they are bound by the UK regs (governing online contracts with consumers in the UK no matter what goods they are selling, excepting certain goods, etc. as are set out under the Regs, such as (but not limited to): perishables, consumables, personal goods, and goods where the prices for same fluctuate (i.e., stocks, bonds) which in turn would seemingly exclude auction sales (like e-bay bids). Even where the Regs apply, you'll want to check the terms carefully of each seller before you buy. Just a quick glance on my part of some of the sellers in your link (and, without singling any out), I can't help but notice some of them (but certainly not all, then, I didn't check them all either) have what I would consider questionable terms, especially from a consumer's point of view. Read terms and avoid what you find objectionable: Avoid, for e.g., those that want to charge a restocking fee or a repackaging fee (i.e., one I noticed charges a "repackaging" fee for i.e. mattresses, yet doesn't accept a return of a mattress if it's unwrapped such that, it's hard to fathom in my mind how such a seller can justify a re-wrap fee when the thing remains/is returned wrapped). Again, review the terms for yourself, and you'll see
Regs are in addition to other operative laws--i.e., Sales of Goods Act. Also, what many consumers forget is that the Internet Regs -- such as the UK's -- are in addition to (and in no way replace or otherwise detract from) consumer rights under other operative laws, such as the Sales of Goods Act, and also basic contract law. Perhaps many sellers would like consumers to "forget" about their statutory and basic contract rights--particularly those on e-bay albeit a very general statement on my part, so far as there are many reputable sellers on e-bay also, but the fact is and remains that consumers have rights. One of those rights being, generally speaking, a right to refuse goods (i.e., right to reject) that don't materially conform to what you contracted for--i.e., the seller has materially breached the contract. Note: the point here is not to accept the goods in the first place. If for e.g. you agree to buy an item described by the seller as a new king bed with a cherry wood frame, and you're sent a double bed with a natural pine frame, a used bed with a broken frame, or a futon with a plastic frame, that's clearly not what you contacted for, right? By contrast, the right of return under the Regs requires no reason, giving you extra protection (i.e., after you accept the goods but for whatever reason after inspecting them decide to return them, as discussed in the above comments), provided you act within the time required, etc. That said, it bears repeating: the Regs (and cooling off period) don't seem to apply to items you order via a successful bid at an online auction--like ebay bids. Nor do they seem to apply to a private sale with an individual not acting as a commercial entity either (though you have recourse in the event of a problem, such as to paypal's dispute process, if you pay by paypal for e.g.). For all of these reasons and more, review each seller's terms carefully. I can't tell you where to buy your furniture--though IKEA comes to mind, if your stay is temporary (just need a good desk and a bed, right? just teasing)--but I can suggest that, as a general rule, if you need to be a lawyer to understand a seller's terms, then, it's probably best to move on to another seller, I think. Things should be simple and in plain English when it comes to consumer contracts. Most reputable sellers typically want to make certain that their customers are happy with the goods they buy, whether it be shoes or furniture, in order to ensure that their customers return and/or refer their friends. In Closing: As to the internship, good for you. And yes, now is the time to travel (i.e., semester abroad? Sounds wonderful). Oh, I say again: how very exciting and all the best to you! tl/DR: always my pleasure to help a student--always! When it comes to the Regs, distance sellers who sell to UK consumers (i.e., business to consumer) are bound by the rules of return, excepting only certain situations, as are set out in the rules. EDIT: just looked up Ebay.UK (duh!) ... lots of info here, with useful links (and which every UK consumer should review): http://pages.ebay.co.uk/safetycentre...ourrights.html
 

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