Every year at this time in Britain, it’s National Consumer Week, which tries to make purchasers more aware of their rights. This year the issue is one to affect many who use computers forshopping – buying from afar. The Trading Standards Institute, the body behind the event, rightly believes that not only do many consumers notunderstand their rights in distance buying, but that traders, too, aren’t aware of the issues. Office of Fair Trading research has shown that buyersdidn’t know how to cancel an order or claim a refund, among other things. With online shopping predicted to rise to $80 billion in the UK this year, it’s more important than ever thatconsumers become aware of their rights. There are specific Distance Selling Regulations on the books to protect those who buy online or by phone. They’re allowed a seven-day cooling-offperiod, a full breakdown of cots, including how to cancel an order, and a contact address for the retail seller. Additionally, UK consumers who purchase goods worth more than $200 by creditcard receive additional protections in the event of non-receipt of faulty goods; they can often reclaim much of the purchase price from the credit card company. Not all goods and purchases arecovered by the regulations, however. “The internet is a fantastic marketplace for UK shoppers," Christine Cryne, director of consumer direct at the OFT, told the BBC. "Butconsumers could do more to find out about their rights and get themselves a better deal."
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