Consumer watchdog reports online sellers' Facebook pages in poor shape

Facebook logo displayed on smartphone.
Facebook logo displayed on smartphone. Source: Pixabay

Standard terms as presented by many online retailers are often inadequate, a consumer watchdog says, with returns or refunds if a product is defective not provided for, among other issues. The problem mostly affects sellers' pages on social media, particularly Facebook, while spot checking revealed all of the nearly fifty merchants surveyed failed to meet the requirements.

Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority (TTJA) legal spokesperson Elnara Nadzafova said that: "Pre-contractual information must be given to consumers before the conclusion of a contract, that is before the purchase is made or the order confirmed."

"Pre-contractual information is important for giving consumers all the information they need for making a well thought-out purchase decision. Information and sales conditions must be easily noticeable on the website and presented in a clear and understandable manner," she continued, BNS reports.

The TTJA adds that consumers are entitled to withdraw from agreements concluded electronically within a 14-day period, without having to disclose their reasoning.

At the same time, in many cases the regulations are not being adhered to, she said, including if a product or is packaging is damaged or defective or even used.

"A merchant must also take back their products in these cases, though they have the right to demand that any deterioration in the product's value be compensated by the consumer," Nadzafova said.

The TTJA had conducted a survey into merchandising on social media, with 45 retailers investigated – all of whom required supervision proceedings on the part of the TTJA.

The TTJA adds that discounting has no effect on returns policy rules, while merchants are required to provide clear and accurate information, as well as a means of contacting them.

The TTJA's site is here; the authority urges all those who feel sellers have not provided adequate information pre-sale, or who may have suffered any other potential poor service, to contact it.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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