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Auction websites are being forced to change the way they show users what their consumer rights are.

After discussions with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), eBay, along with QXL, eBid and Tazbar, will include advice and links to external sites to explain to bidders what their rights are under the Distance Selling Regulations (DSR).

DSR applies when businesses use auction sites as a sales channel. If you buy an item using the "Buy it Now" function you have the right to return items under DSR provisions.

The OFT conducted a study this summer which found many businesses not identifying themselves as such, despite consumers wanting to know if they are buying from a company or an individual.

DSR gives you the right to return goods within seven days, starting from the day after the goods arrive. Additionally, businesses which are covered by DSR must identify themselves to consumers and give information on cancellation rights before a contract is concluded.

The auction websites have also agreed to inform businesses which are using their sites of their obligations under the E-Commerce Regulations.

eBay UK sent us the following statement: "We believe it can only enhance consumers' confidence in the internet if they are aware of their rights. We already educate buyers and sellers as to their rights and obligations. However, there is always more that can be done and we are working closely with the OFT and the rest of the industry to make sure that consumers and businesses alike get the most out of the internet."

The OFT statement is here. The OFT also provides information on consumer rights, which is available here. ®

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