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IT sellers urged to tighten up distance selling rules

OFT issues DSR guidelines

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The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published new guidance to companies that flog IT goods and services via the net or by phone.

The advice, available on the OFT's web site, reflects changes to the laws on distance selling published in April.

Keen to ensure that IT retailers understand their legal obligations, the OFT wants companies to adopt contracts that are fair and clearly understood by consumers.

For example, while a longer cancellation period than is required under Distance Selling Regulations (DSR) might get the thumbs up, insisting that any cancellation notice for an order may only be sent by recorded delivery might not be so welcome by the OFT.

"The technical details of computers are not easily understood by many people," said the OFT's Christine Wade.

"That is why it is very important that consumers have the reassurance, when buying IT equipment, that the contract is clear and that there are no hidden traps. Our guidance will help businesses comply with the law," she said. ®

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