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Terms and Conditions for Internet Retailers

The law sets out a number of rules for internet retailers. Certain information
must be provided to prospective buyers, and unfair terms and conditions are
prohibited.

This guidance provides a set of model terms to help internet retailers comply
with consumer protection laws. Where terms or information are required by
law, they are given in bold type; other terms need not be included. You will
need to replace the italic text (in square brackets) with the specific information
which applies to your business.

In addition to standard terms and information, you are required to provide


specific information about the products you sell, i.e. a description of the
product, and an indication of its price including all taxes, delivery costs and
other charges.

Your terms must be made available so that they can be easily stored or
printed. Some information must be provided to the consumer in a durable
form, and it is therefore good practice to include a copy of the order details
and your standard terms in any order confirmation e-mail, and/or on delivery.

Terms for business customers

The law does not always provide the same level of protection to businesses
as it does to consumers. Similarly, consumers outside the EU may not have
the same rights as consumers within the EU. You may wish to use
alternative, but reasonable, terms for these groups of customers.

In particular:

• You do not have to give business buyers the benefit of a cooling-off period.
However, custo mers might be more confident about buying from you
(without seeing the goods) if they know that they can return goods for a
refund, exchange or credit note.

• Businesses are not entitled to reject faulty goods, where the fault is so
slight that it would be unreasonable to reject. You should consider each
complaint on its merits. Even where a business cannot reject goods for a
minor fault, they will still be able to claim a repair, a replacement and/or
compensation.
• The law does not require you to bear the risk of loss or damage in transit.
However, where you arrange to deliver goods to your customer, it is good
practice to use a reliable delivery service and to arrange sufficient
insurance to cover the value of the goods. It is also good practice for you
to pursue any claim with your carrier, and not to expect your customer to
do this for you.

Where you use special terms to limit your liability to business customers, in
the event of your breach of contract, those terms must be reasonable. If you
use various sets of terms, you must make it absolutely clear which terms
apply to which customers.

Other requirements

In addition to consumer protection laws, you may have to comply with other
rules, and you may have to reflect these in your standard terms too.
Depending on the nature of your business, and of your customer base, you
may wish to incorporate additional terms and provide additional information.

Examples might include:

• data protection and privacy (further information available from the


Information Commissioner at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk)
• customs rules and taxes, for customers outside the EU
• details of any alternative dispute resolution scheme you belong to.

Further information

Detailed guidance about the legal requirements is available from the DTI
website (www.dti.gov.uk) or your local trading standards service.
Recommended Term Comments
Please read these terms carefully, and print and keep a copy of It is good practice to encourage buyers to read the terms and
them for your reference. conditions. It is, however, unlawful to insist that buyers make a
declaration to the effect that they have read the terms (for
example by checking a tick-box).

It is good practice to encourage buyers to keep a copy of the


terms. As the law requires certain information to be provide in
writing or by e-mail, at the latest on delivery, it is good practice
to provide your full terms and order details in this manner too.
About Us If you are a limited company, you must state the full
corporate name. If you are a sole trader or partnership, you
This website is owned and operated by [Name, Address]. must state the name(s) of the proprietor(s).

If you need to contact us, please e-mail us at [e-mail You must give the geographic address at which the
address] or call customer services on [telephone number]. business is established. A PO Box will not be sufficient.

VAT number: [insert number] You must provide a means for website users to contact you
Company registration number: [insert number] by e-mail. A telephone number is optional.

You must give your VAT and company registration


numbers, if you have them, and you must also give provide
details where you are entered in any other public register (e.g.
membership of a trade association, licences).
Recommended Term Comments
Making a contract with us If you make a pricing mistake on your website, and you accept
orders at that price, you will not then be entitled to cancel the
When you place an order with us, you are making an offer to buy order (unless the mistake would have been obvious to the
goods. We will send you an e-mail to confirm that we have buyer). You would have to supply the goods at the quoted price,
received your order. or to compensate the buyer for the additional cost of buying
elsewhere. The same would apply if you accept an order for
Once we have checked the price and availability of the goods, goods which are not available.
we will e-mail you again to confirm that we accept your order,
and that a contract has been made between us. We will not To minimise this risk, you can check price and availability before
take payment from you until we have accepted your order. accepting an order. If you intend to do this, you should also
state clearly, in any e -mail confirming receipt of an order, that
In the unlikely event that the goods are no longer available, or you have not yet accepted the order, that there is not yet a
that we have made a pricing mistake, we will advise you of this. contract between you and the buyer, and that no money will be
You will not receive an e-mail confirming acceptance of your taken until the order is accepted. You can then check price and
order, and there will be no contract between us. availability before accepting the order and making a contract. If
you find a pricing error, or if the price has changed, you can
If the goods you order are not available, we may supply you with invite the customer to buy at the correct or new price, but they
substitute goods. If you decide not to accept the substitute do not have to take up your offer.
goods, you will not have to pay to return them to us.
You should note that, under the Consumer Protection Act 1987,
it is a criminal offence to give a misleading price indication.
Even if you decline orders where there is a pricing error, or
where your advertised prices have changed after the order was
placed, you will not necessarily escape criminal liability.

You can supply substitute goods if you run out of the


original goods ordered. However, if you intend to do this,
you must state that the buyer need not accept them, and
that you will then bear the cost of returning them.
Recommended Term Comments
How to place order You must provide instructions as to how to place an order,
and on how to correct input errors. You may wish to include
[Include a description of the technical steps required of the these instructions in your standard terms and conditions, and
customer, for them to place an order] they could be combined with information about making a
contract (see below).
[Include a description of the technical means for identifying
and correcting input errors prior to the placing of the order] It is good practice to make it clear whether you use secure
payment methods.

Delivery You must provide information about the arrangements for


delivery. This will include charges and timescales for all the
[Include a schedule of delivery charges, or details of how locations where you deliver goods.
you calculate delivery charges].
Best practice is to include delivery costs in the description of
[Include details of when goods will be sent out, and when each item. You should ensure that buyers can access full and
buyers can expect to receive their goods.] accurate details of delivery costs before they commence the
ordering process.
If the goods are lost or damaged in transit, please let us know
promptly, so that we can make a claim against the carriers. We Specific arrangements about delivery time and location will be of
will offer you the choice of a replacement or a full refund. particular importance where goods are perishable (e.g. fresh or
frozen food) or valuable, or where there might be specific
requirements for timely delivery (e.g. gifts for special occasions,
items which require specialist installation).

The law makes you responsible for the risk of loss or damage in
transit, where you are selling to consumers. You may wish to
request prompt notification of loss or damage, to help you to
make a claim against the carrier.
Recommended Term Comments
Cancellation and returns Consumers in the EU are generally entitled to cancel contracts
for goods bought over the internet, without giving any reason.
This cancellation policy does not affect your rights when we To cancel, they simply have to notify you in writing, at the latest
are at fault — for example, if goods are faulty or at the end of the 7th full working day after delivery. The
misdescribed. definition of 'working day' excludes Saturdays, Sundays and
public holidays.
This policy does not apply to the following goods, which are
exempt from the right to cancel: There is no requirement to return the goods within a particular
[List exempt items, if any] time, and there is no requirement that the returned goods be
unopened or unused. There is also no requirement that the
You can cancel your contract before delivery, and up to 7 returned goods be re-saleable, although the customer is under a
working days after delivery. To do this, please e -mail us or duty to take reasonable care of them.
write to us. We will refund your money, including the original
postage charges, within 30 days. On cancellation, you are required to refund all moneys paid,
including outward postage charges, within 30 days. You can
You do not have to give any reason for cancellation. However, a include a contract term requiring the buyer to bear the return
brief explanation will help us to improve the service we offer to postage cost, but you cannot impose any other charge.
customers in the future.
If you sell any items which are exempt from the right to cancel,
If you cancel, you must return the goods to us at your own you could list these in your terms and conditions. You may also
expense. You are responsible for the risk of loss or wish to point out the exemption in the description of the goods.
damage when you return goods, so you should take out For more information about exemptions, contact your local
enough postal insurance to cover their value. trading standards service.

If you fail to do return the goods, we will collect them, and we will You must include information about the existence of the
charge you the direct cost of collection. If you fail to take right to cancel, and how to exercise that right. If you
reasonable care of the goods before they are returned to us, and require the customer to return goods at their own expense,
this results in damage or deterioration, we will charge you for the you must state this. You must state that a return policy or
reduction in value. warranty does not affect the consumer's legal rights.
Recommended Term Comments
Faulty goods You do not need to state anything about the buyer's rights where
there are problems with the goods, as these rights are set out in
If there is a problem with the goods, please contact us to discuss law. It is a criminal offence to make any statement which is
the matter further. inconsistent with a consumer's legal rights.

If the goods are found to be faulty within a reasonable time after Warranties must not be used to impose a time limit for claims. If
delivery, you may reject them and claim a full refund, plus you offer a time-limited warranty in addition to the consumer's
compensation for your losses. legal rights, you must make it clear that the consumer's legal
rights may still apply after the warranty expires.
If a fault is found later on, or if you delay in making a complaint,
you will still be entitled to a repair or, if a repair cannot be done It is good practice to set out, in general terms, how you will deal
without causing you significant inconvenience, a replacement. If with complaints about faulty goods, and to provide a contact
a replacement is not available, you may be able to claim a part telephone number in addition to your postal and e-mail
or full refund of your money, plus compensation for any other addresses.
losses incurred.

Changes to these terms You cannot change the terms of a contract you have already
made with the consumer. If you decide that you need to change
These terms were last changed on [date]. Previous versions of your standard terms, those changes will only apply to new
our standard terms and conditions can be viewed here. [Provide contracts.
a link to previous terms].
Regular customers will not read your full terms and conditions
These terms apply to your order. We may change our terms every time they place an order. Therefore, if you make
and conditions at any time, so please do not assume that the significant changes, it would be good practice to notify
same terms will apply to future orders. customers by e-mail, and to point out the changes prominently
on your home page.

You should make copies of older versions of your terms and


conditions permanently available, with details of the dates when
they applied.