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  • Lawrence Bailey

When sellers don't deliver the goods

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

Many of us are doing the Christmas shopping a little differently this year. Basically, we’re spending less time in stores and buying a lot more online.

That’s to be expected, given the circumstances, but it isn’t always a convenient option, especially when something you’ve ordered fails to arrive on time.

Of course, we punters need to keep our expectations reasonable. After all, it’s a manic time for the supply chain under some fairly challenging conditions.

The main thing to remember though is that just because you buy a product over the internet doesn’t mean that your consumer rights are lessened.

I recently had cause to chase up something I’d ordered online from a well-known High Street store. I was surprised that it proved such a challenge.

I should have guessed things wouldn’t be straightforward when the chat facility on their website suddenly became ‘temporarily unavailable’ as soon as it was evident I wanted to complain.

I then had to call a freephone number, only to learn that I was 32nd in the queue and it would take fifteen minutes to be answered. It was nearer twenty-five.

A nicely spoken customer advisor told me I could expect delivery “any day now”. He acknowledged though that he needed to be more precise when I told him the Consumer Rights Act 2015 required suppliers to provide a specific alternative date if they had missed a previous one.

He was sure I could expect delivery the next day. If that didn’t happen, he said, then a ‘concern’ would go onto the system. This was made to sound like a proactive move on his part but he was only complying with the law, which says the next stage in pursuing a missed delivery is a formal complaint.

Anyway, to cut a boring story short, they missed the new date and things escalated further which ended up with me demanding a refund. I also reported them to their trade association for stringing me along.

So, the advice to punters in such cases is be polite but persistent. Don’t settle for vague promises and don’t let suppliers get away with blaming the courier. It’s the seller’s responsibility to supply you with the goods or give you your money back.

For more info, I’d recommend clicking this link on the Which? website


Campaign aims to make Christmas safer

One instance where High Street stores are a safer online option is in the purchase of electrical goods.

In the UK, web-based marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Wish are not bound by the same consumer protection laws as direct retailers. This means that fake and other dangerous electrical products can be sold to unknowing customers.

Consumer charity Electrical Safety First is mounting a petition to demand action against the unlawful sale of dangerous electricals. They are backed in the fight by Swansea East MP Carolyn Harris.

Successive investigations have found dangerous electrical products for sale via third-parties on popular websites. The impact of this was felt by one Welsh consumer who bought a cheap replacement battery for her laptop. The substandard item caught fire and the blaze came near to destroying her home.

It’s not widely known but we have no compensation rights in this country when fake faulty goods cause damage. Furthermore, many of the limited consumer safeguards we currently have could well be eroded after we leave the EU.

We need to make sure we stay protected. Click on to find out more on how to protect yourself and your family.

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