Changes to consumer rights legislation could soon alter customer experiences for the better.
Those who love online shopping or ordering items over the phone could soon have more time to return products if they’re not happy with them.
From today (Friday 13 June), any items not purchased directly in a store will come under a new set of legislation that enhances the returns process.
In what could quite easily be the biggest shake up in a generation, the period of time that a customer has to return an item will be doubled from seven to 14 days.
Enhancing shoppers’ rights
The use of premium telephone lines for customer service hotlines will also be banned, as all customer care lines must be charged at standard rates.
All 28 EU member states will be covered by the Consumer Rights Directive and this aims to clarify rights relating to information and cancellations.
“The Consumer Rights Directive will give people greater protection against rogue traders and strengthen their rights when shopping online,” said Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd.
“These changes, coupled with the new consumer bill of rights, will give people more power to challenge bad practice.”
In the UK the directive will be implemented via the Consumer Contracts Regulations, which replace existing regulations.
Changes to returns and purchasing policies
It marks a separate step from the consumer rights bill which is currently being discussed in parliament, which contains additional protective measures.
Pre-ticked additional payments for certain services are no longer allowed although financial services, package travel and gambling are excluded from the new regulations.
This represents great news for online shoppers and customers looking to make savings, as they are less likely to be hit with hidden costs and expensive returns policies.
In essence, the changes place more pressure on traders to act in a fair, competitive and responsible manner.
“What we want to see are empowered, savvy shoppers who know their rights, look around for the best deals and drive competition,” explained consumer minter Jenny Willott.
Managing online spending
Financial management is extremely important, so keeping spending in check with a prepaid card is a great way of ensuring that you don’t spend more than you would like.
A prepaid card limits spending to the amount on the card at any given moment and is not directly linked to a bank account, making funds safer.
The cards can easily be topped up or replaced if required, while accounts can be checked regularly online if needed.