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Get your refund: Distance selling - download the letter

Melanie Grant - One Show team | 15:13 UK time, Thursday, 27 August 2009

Dom sets the record straight on your rights when you buy goods and services through distance selling. Watch his film:

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Download your template letters here

For services - to get your refund, click here.

For goods bought, to get your refund, click here.

Distance selling is purchasing goods or services online, via mail order, catalogue, by phone or even digital TV.

Problem is, you can't try before you buy. But the good news is you've got the law on your side.

The Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations gives you a cooling off period that allows you to change your mind. But you only have seven working days. In the case of services that starts from placing the order. And with goods you have seven working days from receiving the order. All you have to do is:

1. Phone the trader/company to inform them.
2. Then you must inform them in writing - by letter, fax or email - of your decision to cancel. Keep proof of postage.
3. Wait. Your money should be reimbursed as soon as possible - and in any case within a maximum period of 30 days.

Download your template letters here

For services - to get your refund, click here.

For goods bought to get your refund, click here.

Let us know if our distance selling template letter works for you, below.

You may also like: Dom's Sale of Goods Act letter has helped many One Show viewers. Read about some of the successes and download the letter here.


  • 1. At 7:17pm on 27 Aug 2009, bukko wrote:

    Do companies have the same rights as individuals when buying online?

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  • 2. At 7:17pm on 27 Aug 2009, sweetEFL wrote:

    You should remember that if the goods delivered are in perfect working order and you just change your mind then the retailer has the right to charge you the return postage as well as the original postage cost. This is shown in the Act.
    If the goods are damaged and can be proved to be faulty at delivery then the postage cost of return and replacement would not be chargeable.
    Please make sure you give the correct information and do not mislead customers into thinking they would pay nothing towards delivery.

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  • 3. At 7:19pm on 27 Aug 2009, wildCalamity wrote:

    I am getting married next year and there is a chinese company on ebay that make custom made wedding dresses, but i am so worried about the fact that they are abroad. Does this legislation also stretch overseas?

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  • 4. At 7:21pm on 27 Aug 2009, TheWhiteLighthouse wrote:

    Many many internet companies have excellent customer service and should not be put off by comments by Dom.

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  • 5. At 7:22pm on 27 Aug 2009, bukko wrote:

    >> Does this legislation also stretch overseas?

    No it doesn't :(

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  • 6. At 7:26pm on 27 Aug 2009, msQueensheen wrote:

    When returning goods bought online, whose responsibility is the postage cost? I recently needed to return goods and the company agreed to a full refund once I had arranged and paid for the cost of posting.

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  • 7. At 7:30pm on 27 Aug 2009, lex3561 wrote:

    • Consumers have a cooling off period in which they can withdraw from the contract for any reason. The cooling off period begins as soon as the order has been made. In the case of goods, it ends seven working days after the day of receipt of the goods. In the case of services, it ends seven working days after the day the order were made. If the consumer agrees to the service beginning within the seven days, the right to cancel ends when the service starts; and

    • Where consumers notify the supplier in writing or another durable medium that they wish to cancel the contract, they must be refunded within 30 days all money paid.

    check out the website for full details.

    My advise is contact the seller first and give them the chance to put things right. it usually works for me.

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  • 8. At 7:40pm on 27 Aug 2009, roders_uk wrote:

    Even tho play.com was shown on the programe it is based in Jersey and Jersey has differant rules.
    If your goods brake down you will have to send them back to the manufactures.
    I even got intouch with Jersey Trading Standards and they said the same.

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  • 9. At 8:55pm on 27 Aug 2009, IAMAMEE wrote:

    Can you claim a deposit back that you have put down for a holiday. A package one with Thompsons?

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  • 10. At 09:19am on 28 Aug 2009, rightannoyed wrote:

    Can you pl help me? I recently contacted a Plumbing service from our local Yellow Pages. Their advert clearly stated NO CALL OUT CHARGES. What they failed to mention is that once the engineer sets foot on your premises you are billed at £59 + VAT per hour, regardless of you accepting the price for the work to be done. The engineer diagnosed within minutes that we had a leak from the sealant on our shower tray and needed to remove the existing seal on 2 sides and re-seal. He informed me that he would try & do this within the hour, so I asked him to proceed. The job took 2 hours and cost me £150.70 just to replace sealant on 2 sides of a shower tray. I was horrified. Having spoken to my husband, on his return from work, we decided to call the company and make a complaint. I asked them how they could justify a charge of £150 for replacing sealant on 2 sides of a small shower tray and they informed me, They said the first hours charge is for their Diagnostic check, which was never mentioned in the initial conversation when the booking was being taken. Surely this is very bad business pactise and they are just ripping off their customers who put their trust in them ? I await your comments.

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  • 11. At 10:37am on 28 Aug 2009, copperBishop wrote:

    Re: Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regs. 2000.
    Under Regulation 5(1) (f), the sale of goods by auction is
    exempted, thus preventing a person obtaining goods with a view
    to making a profit during the seven days cooling off period,
    and returning the goods for a full refund if unsuccessful.

    However, it would appear that items sold at a fixed price on auction sites would fall within the scope of the Regs.

    I would imagine that Dom Littlewood's report put the Fear of God into the minds of many sellers using auction sites, and this report is for their benefit.

    Kind Regards to all at The One Show,

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  • 12. At 10:38am on 28 Aug 2009, seahayes wrote:

    Why are the Americans so much better than Brits about giving credit for faulty goods? A happy story for you:- on 20/12/007 we bought a weather centre gadget from a Lowes store at Milford MA.We had the thing working here until earlier this month but the relative humidity indication was invariably wrong. Our son took the gadget and the original receipt back to the store last Sunday (23/8) and full credit appeared on our UK credit card account 26/8.

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  • 13. At 10:45am on 28 Aug 2009, copperBishop wrote:

    Re: No. 10 'rightannoyed'.
    What most consumers don't realise is that when they pay the bill, they have 'agreed' to pay it. Conmplaining later has no effect. However, if you diagree with the bill, pay for what you do agree with, and then the onus for collecting the rest of the bill is upon the contractor. If he threatens court action, then so be it, let the court sort it out. Only go this far if you are sure that you have got your facts right.

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  • 14. At 1:08pm on 28 Aug 2009, richpreston wrote:

    In the discussion about this, Dom said "remember, this only works for products bought in England - this is British law."

    I didn't realise the words "England" and "Britain" were interchangable.

    If it's 'British' law then it covers Scotland and Wales as well (as hard as it may be for the London production team, there are areas outside England that make up 'Britain'). However I'm not aware of any 'British' legislation - perhaps you meant UK law? In that case you can include N Ireland in that list too.

    If it does only apply to products bought in England then it's English law. Although I believe this piece of legislation does cover the whole of the UK. (A reminder: that would be England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

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  • 15. At 6:52pm on 28 Aug 2009, Guliani wrote:

    Hello to everyone,

    I just want to say that you are bit mistaken about the force of all the legal rules mentioned above. Those are valid in the whole European Union as DSRs (distance selling rules) implement European Council Directive (97/7/EC)7 and for
    most goods and services provide additional rights to consumers
    buying at a distance to encourage confidence in this method of
    buying. The protection the DSRs offer is important because
    consumers cannot inspect goods or services before they buy when
    they shop at a distance. All member states of the European Union
    (EU) must implement the Directive in their national legislation. The
    DSRs came into force on 31 October 2000 and were amended by
    SI 689/2005 effective from 6 April 2005. This made changes to the
    requirements to provide information when supplying services and to
    cancellation periods for the supply of services.

    However if you browse the internet you can often find in the terms & conditions of many companies little discrepancies.
    However all those rules were admitted for a reason and are understandable, the businesses in this way just can't avoid some unscrupulous customers who might tackle and use them in inappropriate way and not treat them fair and thus causing a lot of extra costs especially to small businesses. So they just want to protect themselves by not providing a full or proper information.
    I'm not saying here it is the right way to go but it is just simple action - reaction principle as in everything. Anyway if it comes to that they would have to follow what's is the law not what is in their terms.

    If you want to read a whole guide you can find it here Distance Selling Rules.

    Hope this will help.

    Clothes Shopping

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  • 16. At 6:58pm on 28 Aug 2009, bworrell wrote:

    I have no doubt Dom's letters are of a great help. However, my experience has shown that you can be lulled into a false sense of hope. If the trader refuses to give you your money back there is little you can do about. You go through the whole cycle of Small Claims Court, County Court Judgements, Enforcement Orders and Bailiffs, and eventually a Charge against the traders assets. But you end up with nothing except a drip feed of expenses and fees.

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  • 17. At 5:03pm on 31 Aug 2009, siaynoq wrote:

    Hi there all, I sometimes wonder whether some people post misinformation on purpose or just have not researched their answers!

    A few points for you all ('sweetEFL' read this!) Under the 'distance selling regulations, I refer to.. http://www.oft.gov.uk/shared_oft/business_leaflets/general/oft698.pdf

    A consumer is entitled to a FULL refund INCLUDING delivery\postage if they change their mind FOR ANY REASON!

    3.48 The DSRs require you to refund any money paid by or on behalf of
    the consumer in relation to the contract to the person who made the
    payment. This means the full price of the goods, or deposit or prepayment made, including the cost of delivery. The essence of
    distance selling is that consumers buy from home and receive goods
    at home. In these circumstances, almost every case of home
    shopping will involve delivery of the goods ordered and so delivery
    forms an essential part of the contract.

    And as for paying for the RETURN postage

    3.55 If you want the consumer to return the goods and to pay for that
    return, you must make it clear in the contract and as part of the
    required written information-You are not allowed
    to make any further charges, such as a restocking charge or an
    administration charge.

    The document I refer to is well laid out, worth downloading and keeping for reference.

    Hope this assists any consumers in knowing their rights.

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  • 18. At 9:49pm on 31 Aug 2009, jabbajockey wrote:

    This is all very worthy and laudable--but why was my urgent email, warning of a serious security threat to ALL home dwellers, that a doctored lock KEY, offered for sale on the web--that can open ANY lock, EVEN padlocks on bicycles--and yet, nothing was said about it on the one show, not even a 'thank you, were looking into it'. Some public help scheme you have!

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  • 19. At 11:43am on 01 Sep 2009, amazon_fan wrote:

    This is the way to do it!!! (copy of a mail I just sent to Amazon)

    Congratulations on your fantastic returns service when I had problems with my six-month old Philips shaver. No further questions, no delay, just an email to tell me a replacement was on its way. Add to that the printable postage-paid label and returns slip, this is an example of excellent customer service. I have sent a copy of this text to BBC The One Show so that they know that legalistic template letters are not always necessary when dealing with a reputable retailer.
    Many thanks
    Steve Lyons

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  • 20. At 5:32pm on 01 Sep 2009, bagpuss163 wrote:

    Can you please advise?

    I have booked 2 nights in a hotel room through Expedia for September 2009. The hotel was chosen because it stated that it was close to the aiport, the City of Boston and it had a complimentary shuttle from the airport. However reading a number of reviews on trip adviser the hotel is quite a distance from the airport, the shuttle even though complimentary is unreliable and is dirty and the hotel is very difficult to get to from Boston centre itself. I would like to cancel this hotel room and am giving almost 3 weeks notice however Expedia are telling me that the room is non refundable and I cannot cancel. Do I have any rights in getting my money back please?

    Many thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

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  • 21. At 2:53pm on 03 Sep 2009, dexterity13 wrote:

    Can you tell me what my rights are regarding orders placed with American companies? I placed an order with a company on the internet which had a .co.uk web address but have since found that it is actually a company in America, not the UK. Having placed an order with them, I received a phone call from America to confirm my order and payment was taken out of my account immediately. Then I read some reviews on the company and realised I shouldn't have bothered! Terrible reviews, orders either never arrive or take months, and refunds never get refunded! I have since cancelled my order (the goods never arrived!) and requested a refund (which according to the website should reach me within 5 - 7 working days!) but a month later I am still waiting for my money back.

    Can you tell me where I stand and how to go about getting my money back as it's not a UK company?

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  • 22. At 7:42pm on 03 Sep 2009, Robg1988 wrote:

    hi, i purchased a Bush HD LCD TV about 2 years ago and now the picture is going. i have looked on websites and it seems this happens a lot to people that after about two years the picture starts to take a while to appear amongst all sorts of funny colours before eventually the TV gets to the stage where it will no longer work. is there anyway i can get a replacement, or my money back. please get in touch.

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  • 23. At 4:28pm on 04 Sep 2009, ladyVONNY wrote:

    Well The Sales of Goods Act letter did not working with Currys. Instead I received a letter with an 0870 number in order for me to ring Dell computer helpline and have the laptop fixed (seems to be overheating within five to ten minutes of initial start up and as a result the system persistently freezes. During this stage the task manager refuses to work so you can not end the program or progress any further unless the whole system is re-boote. The system is so problematic it is in effect useless).

    My laptop was three days over the standard 28 days for a refund and still no joy! I was told instore to uninstall Norton Security and replace with McAfee as this maybe the rason to the problem. Task carried out and failed. Receipts and all boxed but it looks like no chance to have my £299 refunded.

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  • 24. At 9:13pm on 10 Sep 2009, lisar83 wrote:

    hi i was wondering if any one can help i purchesed a cooker from argos just over 4 months ago i phone argos to inform them my draw keeps falling down and the cooker nobs keep popping off they phone indesit and had a engeener come out who told me the draw surrport arm was missing from new and orderd new nobs this all started happing before my cooker was 3 months old i was told by indesit i could have a new cooker because i was sold a faulty product and then l8r told i wasnt promised a new cooker and they would just keep fixing it every time i use the oven the nobs get so hot the pop off iv been using the cooker one day and they poped off the flame went out and i had to rush round the kitchen to pick all the bits up before i could turn the gas off iv been told still it wont be refuned please please help some 1 i have no idear what to do now im not made of money it took me a long time of saving for some thing that is falling apart

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  • 25. At 8:43pm on 13 Sep 2009, jollynicedog wrote:

    I recently bought a pair of ghd hair straighteners from an approved internet sight. When they arrived they were not the ones that I was expecting, and I had made a mistake and ordered the wrong size. in actual fact I did not realise at the time of ordering, that these tools actually came in different sizes. Anyway I got in touch with the supplier, and was told that because the box containing them had a seal on it which had been broken, then they would not replace the goods with the size that I required. How was I to know the size of the goods until I had opened the box? The seal is a piece of sticky tape with very small writing on stating that if the seal is cut you cannot return the goods. As I have middle aged eyesight I had no chance of being able to read the notice. The goods are still in the box, and are totally unused. Do I have any rights? By the way the supplier is in the UK.

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  • 26. At 3:26pm on 15 Sep 2009, gemlking wrote:

    I bought a new bedframe and mattress from Harveys in march, when the two were put together the mattress was too small for the bedframe. I have contacted them several times regarding this matter and they told me it was my responsibilty to check they went together at time of purchse, is this right ?

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  • 27. At 08:52am on 19 Sep 2009, misschide wrote:

    I have been unlucky enough to have been cuaght ou tin a UGG boot scam,I ordered UGG boots online on a website that has illegally been using the registered trademark of UGG and have paid £57.99 for a pair of fake UGGS that have arrived I have disputed the claim with paypal (the method of payment) and they have closed my case as they say in the user aggreement they can only investigate undelievered goods not problems with quality. I am ery angry and upset and want to know if there will be any chance getting my money back and how to shut the fruadulant website down, which is a very good mimic of the real UGG website. There is no address of the seller, and it turns out that they have been shipped form china so all the details on the shipping receipt are in chinese! Is there anyone that could advise me?

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  • 28. At 4:45pm on 23 Sep 2009, tracylouiseg wrote:

    I paid for some magnetic signs from a internet company called Signs of Life in mid August. The signs were not delivered. I emailed them and they told me that they had been sent to the wrong hub and should be with me 'tomorrow' - that was two weeks ago! I still have no signs and on Monday September 14th I requested a refund (£36.80) They emailed back saying I would receive my refund immediately. I still have no refund. On Monday September 21st I emailed reqesting a cheque to be sent and to be received by September 23, but to no avail. Now they have stopped responding to my emails and I have no signs and no refund.
    I have a draft email waiting to be sent asking for the refund to be made within 30 days of the initial request (Sept 14th) and if it is not received I will take further action. This has not been sent as yet.
    What do I do next??? Can I take this to the small claims court?
    How do I get my refund???
    Please advise asap!!

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  • 29. At 6:27pm on 23 Sep 2009, olthedoll wrote:

    i need to get intouch with dominic i have a problem please

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  • 30. At 6:29pm on 23 Sep 2009, olthedoll wrote:

    i need to get intouch with dominic dont know how to

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  • 31. At 10:34pm on 23 Sep 2009, namejayne wrote:

    I bought a plant from a gardening shop on line and realised at once that it wasn't what I wanted. I therefore contacted them in writing via a support ticket on their website and cancelled the contract twenty minutes after I had made it (it only took me this long because their support ticket system was very well hidden - and they do not give out an email address)

    However 24 hours later they sent it out.

    I returned it but they are insisting that I pay for both their delivery costs and for the cost of returning it.

    Are they entitled to do this?

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  • 32. At 7:51pm on 25 Sep 2009, granmarybriggs wrote:

    I used your letter to try to sort out some Dunlop golf shoes I bought from Sports Direct via Amazon. I had emailed the company with the problem to be told thy could not help as they had no spare spikes.

    I had just finished some lessons, a gift from my children, and hoped to play. The shoes had a key to tighten the spikes and instructions which said I should tighten the spsikes before I played. I had been on thge course only twice, tightening the spikes on both occasions. When I took them off a spike was missing. I felt the shoes were unfit for purpose so sent an email with your letter following it up with a recorded letter. I have had no response. Have you any advice what to do next?

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  • 33. At 8:08pm on 25 Sep 2009, Aeckirk wrote:

    I was downloading Mcafee security software on Tuesday 22nd September when I had a message come up on my screen. It told me to un-install my Norton and Spybot software so I could carry on my download. So after a couple of minutes of thinking, I did.

    Then afer about 5 minutes I had a message saying about a trojan was detected. Do I want to carry on with the download, or restart my latop? I carried on as I assumed that it would be safe to do so. If it had not been safe, then I should not have had the option.

    Then after about another 5 minutes I had the same message come up again. So again, I carried on downloading my so called security software. Then about another 5 minutes later my laptop turned off.

    I was waiting for it to restart, but it did not. So I turned it back on, and put in my password. It seemed ok loading my desktop picture, but nothing else. Then it said it was logging off and went back to the logging on page again. So I tried again, but the same thing happened again.

    I called BT first thing the following morning as it was just after midnight, and told them of the problem. I was told it was not the downloading that caused the problem, but it was a fault with my laptop.

    I am still being told this now even after a BT Engineer has been out to look at it. He also called 2 people, 1 of them was a top IT person who told him that the only thing that could be done was to re-format the disk. I was not happy about that as I would lose my personal things on there. However, I had no choice as I needed my laptop working. But then there was another problem, there is no way of gettinto the laptop.

    BT last called me today saying that I would have to take my laptop to someone who can see what the problem is, then claim the money back from them. I told them that there is no way I am paying out for anything as I know what the problem is. I can not take it anywhere anyway as I had an operation on my foot the week before, and can not drive. I was told that, that was my only option.

    I then reminded them that I had called Offcom the day before, and I was going to be writing to Watchdog and The One Show as this is not good.

    Is this what we really want after paying them good money? I don't think so!

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  • 34. At 7:25pm on 28 Oct 2009, yellowracheel wrote:

    I recently bought a product which came from China. I am not happy with the product which is due to a manufacturing issue. Rather than have the product replaced am I entitled to request a refund and if I

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  • 35. At 7:29pm on 28 Oct 2009, yellowracheel wrote:

    I recently bought a product which came from China. I am not happy with the product which is due to a manufacturing issue. Rtaher than have the product replaced am I entitled to request a refund even if they tell me I am not?

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  • 36. At 00:01am on 16 Nov 2009, Steve wrote:

    I signed up to a Distance Learning Plumbing course with O.L.C.I. about 2 and a half years ago and was mis-sold and lied to over the phone during the sales process.
    I was told that the course could be taken at weekends to avoid taking time off from my full-time job. This was not the case as most courses took place over 3-4 days and alot from Monday to Thursday.
    I was also told over the phone a number of other details that I have since discovered to be untrue.
    I paid the full fee at the time, up front, of over £5,000 and when phoning to explain I was mis-sold, was fobbed off several times by their call centre.
    Also, I was told I was sent my Right to Cancel shortly after the sale was completed (while they were explaining the 7 day cooling period) but this was not the case. I did not receive anything relating to my Cancellation rights.
    When I pointed this out, O.L.C.I. sent me a copy of my Right to Cancel and I requested a refund on the back of that. I have not had a reply since and that was 9 months ago.
    Do I have any rights to a refund in this case. I'm at my wits end and could do with a bit of help as I feel I have thrown away £5,000 for a course I have not completed.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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