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Auction sites urged to come clean on customers rights

The Office of Fair trade (opens in new tab) has convinced a number of auction sites like Ebay and Ebid to provide clearer indications of consumers and businesses rights and obligations under the UK consumer statutory laws.

These aforementioned websites will now display advice and links to inform consumers about their rights under the Distance Selling Regulations or DSRs.

Many items on Ebay (opens in new tab) for example do not carry enough information regarding the actual state of items being sold and most do not have a cooling off period when the customer can decide to cancel an order for any reason and receive a full refund.

Things however take an ugly turn many items sold on Auction sites are second hand items and by their very nature, it is quite difficult to determine whether a product is faulty or has reached the end of its usable life.

In many cases, unscrupulous businesses on Ebay charge a high percentage stocking fee as well as asking the buyer to ship the item at his/her own cost.

According to consumer website Which, "Shoppers who buy from a business using the 'buy now' option on an auction site have the right to return items under the DSRs for many products with 40% of shoppers who visit auction sites use the 'buy now' option."

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.