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Distance selling regulations

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I recently bought a product from the internet that I believe was not described as it should have been.

I wish to return the product for a full refund but am not really too clear on where I stand.


Does the cancellation period mean I can send it back as long as it is within 7 days as the OFT states "


The regulations give consumers an unconditional right to cancel an order. This is to allow the consumer the opportunity to examine the goods or consider the nature of a service.

If a consumer cancels an order, written notice must be given to you by:

  • goods – seven working days from the day after that on which the goods are received by the consumer;
  • services – seven working days from the day after that on which the consumer agrees to go ahead with the contract.


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If it is being sent back due to a breach of contract or of implied terms (SoGA s. 13) then they cannot make a charge for sending it back. The OFT is very clear on this and the powers that be do not take this matter lightly.

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Thanks Gyzmo, I didn't make myself quite clear. If it's sent back because you changed your mind or don't like the colour etc then they can charge postage. If it's because it is not the product asked for or is faulty in some way, then they have no choice, they pay the return postage.

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Thanks for your help. After trying to resolve this isses over the phone with them, I have been told by them that because they sent it unsealed I was not entitled to a refund.


It was my understanding that if I were to personally unseal it I would not be entitled to a refund, not if it was sent to me in that condition.


Anyway, I am going to send this letter to them and am just after some guidence as to the wording or if I have missed anything.


Dear Sir/Madam


Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000


On .............. I entered into a contract for ...............

Under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 I would like to cancel the contract. I require reimbursement of all monies paid within 30 days.


Yours sincerely





Thanks again for your help.



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I did read that, but surely as the software arrived unsealed, therefore already open, I am not the one who has opened it.


Exceptions to the right to cancel

- (1) Unless the parties have agreed otherwise, the consumer will not have the right to cancel the contract by giving notice of cancellation pursuant to regulation 10 in respect of contracts -



    (a) for the supply of services if the supplier has complied with regulation 8(3) and performance of the contract has begun with the consumer's agreement before the end of the cancellation period applicable under regulation 12;


    (b) for the supply of goods or services the price of which is dependent on fluctuations in the financial market which cannot be controlled by the supplier;


    © for the supply of goods made to the consumer's specifications or clearly personalised or which by reason of their nature cannot be returned or are liable to deteriorate or expire rapidly;


    (d) for the supply of audio or video recordings or computer software
    if they are unsealed by the consumer


    (e) for the supply of newspapers, periodicals or magazines; or


    (f) for gaming, betting or lottery services.


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Your problem may be proving that it was already opened when it arrived.


What do you mean "was not described as it should have been"? As Conniff said "The only exception to this is if the software does not work they will replace it with another disc."

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There seems to be some confusion here.


The primary purpose of DSR is to provide a cooling off period for goods bought for the simple reason that you cannot examinethe item before purchasing like you can do in-store.


Where goods do not conform to the contract, like any other goods, there stil exists the normal consumer rights of recission/repair/replacement/refund etc etc.


Where the return of the item is due to such a breach, the provisions of DSR as exampled above do not apply and the item can be returned as one would return it to the store.

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Here is an updated version of a letter a wish to send explaining in more detail the issue.


Any advice or amendments?


Dear sir/madam


I recently purchased your DVD and it is not as described. I have spoken to consumer direct regarding the distance selling regulations and they have confirmed with me that under the distance selling regulations 2000 I am entitled to a refund.


The regulations state that that I have an unconditional right to cancel my order. After speaking with someone from your company, I was told

"With regards to your reference to the Distance Selling Regulations, I would advise that the DVD is not covered under this as it is not shrink wrapped and as a result is exempt from these regulations."

The regulations state :

"(d) for the supply of audio or video recordings or computer software if they are unsealed by the consumer;"

As the product was never sealed in the first place, and you have confirmed this in the email sent to me, I am entitled to a refund as the product was never unsealed by me, the consumer.

Also, from the information given in the advertisement on the website, the product is not as described. A lot of the items listed in the advert are not contained in the DVD as stated. Some of the items not included are:


I have spoken to your customer service team who tried to direct me to non-existent sections of the DVD.

As the items listed were advertised and not received, I would also like a full refund under the Sale of Goods act 1979. I require reimbursement of all monies paid within 30 days


Thanks for your time

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Try this. the letter you have is good but, if anyone has read my guide, you can see where confusion can arise in regards to this and you need to be very clear as to the basis for the return. check for typos!


Dear Sir / Madam,


I recently purchased a DVD from yourselves on (date) via your website. However the item is not as described and I therefore require that you re-imburse me.




Section 13 of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 requires that any item sold must be as described, and where it is not, that the seller is entitled to reject the item as a breach of condition.


I contacted yourselves regarding this and was told that you could not refund it due to the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000. You stated that the Regulations exclude the return of DVDs where they have been unsealed by the consumer.


I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the DVD was not sealed to begin with (something that you have confirmed yourselves), therefore that particular exclusion does not apply.


Furthermore, I am not returning this item under the 7 day "cooling off" period permitted by the Regulations, but as a breach of contract implied by S. 13 of the Sale fo Goods Act. In such a case, the general exclusions afforded by the 2000 Regulations do not apply to returns as a statutory right.


I trust that you can see how this misunderstanding has occurred - I have consulted Consumer Direct who have confimed that the above is correct and that I am indeed entitled to a refund and that, as it is a return under the Sale of Goods Act, that the seller is responsible for costs in returning the item.


As such, I would appreciate, to avoid legal action, your prompt efforts in this matter to arrange a refund within 30 days, as well as making arrangements for collection or for a pre-paid return envelope to be sent to me so that I may post the item to yourselves.


I look forward to your confirmation.


Yours etc,

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