A BBC investigation into retailer Next has uncovered a widespread misunderstanding of the Distance Selling Regulations (DSRs).
The probe found that Next has allegedly been failing to abide by their responsibilities regarding prompt returns of mail order items. Under the DSRs, firms are obliged to refund delivery charges when items are returned within seven days. The BBC investigation found that Next had not been doing this.
It is thought that many other retailers are also falling foul of the Distance Selling Regulations. All businesses that fall within the remit of the DSRs are obliged to offer prompt refunds, or risk having cases brought against them in the Small Claims Court.
Action could also be taken against them by the Office of Fair Trading or local branches of the Trading Standards Institute.
Many firms are unsure or unaware of their obligations under the Distance Selling Regulations. But failure to abide by them constitutes a breach of contract on the part of the retailer.
Misunderstandings are particularly rife amongst firms that began life as traditional retailers and subsequently moved online.
Look out for a detailed explanation of the Distance Selling Regulations on Simply Business soon.