Online shopping – When Things Go Wrong

Occasionally now matter how careful you have been and how much homework you did about the company things will go wrong, your rights will vary slightly from country to country but on the whole you have the same rights when shopping online as you have when shopping by any other method. Here is a guide on how to complain, who to complain to and taking things further should you not get any satisfaction.

The first step to making a complaint

If you have a complaint regarding goods or services that you purchased online then the first step you should take towards remedying the problem is contacting the trader where you bought the goods from. Very often most problems can be sorted out this way without the need to take any further steps. Make sure that you give the trader the exact details of your complaint and give them the chance to put things right. Always put the complaint down in writing whenever you can even if this is only by email and always include the following

  • The date of the advert and the website it appeared on
  • The date of your order
  • The exact details of the product you ordered
  • The total amount you paid including shipping costs and the method of payment you used
  • Include your reference or order number
  • State the reason for your complaint as fully as you can
  • How you would like the matter to be resolved, for example a replacement, a refund

Where to turn to next

If after contacting the trader you are still not satisfied then further steps can be taken, you should check to see if there is a trader association that you can turn to for help. Most trader associations will have some form of code or practise which will act as guide and they will be able to tell you if the trader has broken any rules. Trader associations can be found in the yellow pages or by contacting your local office of consumer advice. There might also be a local trading standards service that will also be able to investigate complaints regarding goods and services online.

Taking your complaint further

If after taking all the above advice your problem still isn’t solved then taking the trader to court might be the only solution; however you should consider the following points before doing so to help to try and resolve the situation.

  • conciliation and mediation – involving a third party to help you and the trader come to some agreement
  • arbitration – this is an independent expert who will listen to both sides of the disagreement and draw a conclusion form it

Some trade associations offer these schemes and they generally are inexpensive to use, if however you are not happy with either of the above then the final step would be to take the trader to court.

- Online Shopping - When Things Go Wrong
- Online Shopping - Avoiding Scams
- Online Shopping Security
- Shopping at Online Auctions
- Online Shopping - What you need to know
- Using Shopping Bots

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