Get your site in line with the EU consumer rights directive

The Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) came into force last week (Friday 13th June) which aims to bring clarity to consumers on their rights when buying goods and services.

What does this mean for you, the retailer? The legislation targets a number of areas from pricing to telephone hotlines, all businesses selling goods and services must ensure they are in line with the law. It could mean penalties from the Office of Fair Trading – so check through the list here and make sure you are not in breach.

A full breakdown and official legislation can be found HERE

1. Clear pricing and no hidden charges

Business must now detail explicitly the full prices of goods and services, including any additional fees, before an order is placed. If this information is not sufficiently provided to the customer, the consumer is not liable to pay any extra charges. For traders who offer payment via debit or credit card, the directive states that no charges can be added than what it actually costs for the business to provide this means of payment.

2. Returns

Your Returns policy and a returns form should be easy to find and downloadable from your site.

Retailers operating internationally will be familiar with the “cooling off” period which can vary from country to country. The CRD aims to standardise this and allows customers an increase from 7 to 14 days to change their mind and return goods. If this policy is not clear, the return period is extended to a year. The cooling off period has traditionally been calculated from the moment the customer and traders complete a sales contract. This period will now be calculated from the moment the customer actually receives the goods or services.

3. Refunds

Previously, businesses were required to refund customers within 30 days. The refund must now be made within 14 days from the date on which the consumer informs the business of their desire for a refund.

4. No preselection

An important change for retailers operating online, pre-ticked boxes are now banned across the EU. Consumers must now be able to opt-in to receive additional information or services.

5. Right to withdraw digital purchases

If your business provides digital downloads of music, films or any goods in digital format, you must advise consumers of any technical restrictions prior to their download. For the first time, businesses must also adhere to the extended cooling off period for digital goods.


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