The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is urging businesses to check their websites are not breaking the law, bbc.co.uk reports.
A preliminary analysis of 156 ‘popular websites’ revealed that 62 per cent were not fully compliant with consumer protection laws. These pertain to charges being added at the end of the purchase without prior warning or to restrictions placed on returning goods.
One of the biggest problems the OFT discovered was that retailers were telling consumers that goods must be sent back in the original packaging and in original condition. This could represent a ‘breach in the buyer’s right to inspect or assess a product’.
Many firms were found to add on unexpected charges at the check out, in addition to delivery, such as booking or credit card charges. Others simply forgot to provide an email contact address.
Franchisors may find that they inherit an already-running company website when they sign their franchise agreement, but with the OFT giving companies until Christmas to come into line, it might be a good idea to double check for compliance.
Commenting on the advice, OFT’s Cavendish Elithorth told freshbusinessthinking.com: “The OFT recognises that most businesses want to play fair with their customers and to comply with the law.
“We encourage all online retailers to check their websites so customers can be confident their rights are being respected when they shop online.”