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Retailers face fines for unclear or incorrect terms and conditions

Posted on in Cycles News

While Terms and Conditions are not required by law, having them in place could protect your business, but having incorrect or unclear terms and conditions could be just as bad as having none at all!

Terms and conditions for the sale of goods to consumers (also known as T&Cs) should cover key issues such as orders, delivery, pricing, payment, guarantees, cancellation, liability, data privacy and security.

terms and conditionsWhen it comes to terms and conditions, even the biggest retailers struggle to make it clear what rights consumers have. According to a recent Which? Survey, the overwhelming majority of retailers' websites have errors on the T's & C's pages.

The consumer group studied returns policies, frequently asked questions and terms and conditions on 46 major retailers' websites.

It said it found examples of shops unnecessarily pointing customers with faulty goods to their warranty agreements, failing to accept returns of faulty personalised items, or incorrectly stating different rules for different types of product.

Alex Neill, from Which? said: "As a nation that is increasingly shopping online, it is important that trusted retailers do not mislead consumers about their rights."

Some of the most common errors found in retailers terms and conditions include:

  • Not stating the correct returns policy. When selling online, distance selling regulations state that customers have up to 14 days to cancel from the date they receive the goods and a further 14 days in which to return the goods. However if this is not specifically mentioned in a retailers own terms and conditions the customer can legally have up to 12 months in which to return the goods.
  • Advising that customers have 14 days to return goods if they are faulty, when in fact they legally have 30 days.
  • Not accepting returns for faulty goods. Under the Consumer Rights Act consumers have a legal right to reject goods that are of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described, and get a full refund within 30 days of taking ownership of the product.

Every retailer is different, and should therefore have their own unique terms and conditions that best reflect their own business, however for more guidance on making sure your terms and conditions are legal refer to our Consumer Law section. 

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