With the growth in the internet and online shopping more businesses must understand the regulations for dealing with distance selling. Distance selling is where a product or service is sold by mail-order, the internet, fax, telephone or digital TV or any other method where the consumer is separated by distance from the retailer when making a purchase.

All consumers are entitled to be given clear and concise information before deciding whether or not to make a purchase. This information should include:
  • * The name, address and telephone number of your company.
  • * A clear and accurate description of the goods or services.
  • * Price including additional taxes, handling and delivery charges.
  • * Methods of payment.
  • * Method delivery and the date they will receive the goods.
  • * Refund and exchange policy.
  • * How long the offer will last.
  • * Minimum duration of a contract to supply the goods or services and payment frequency and amounts.
  • * Provide details of trade associations or professional and regulatory bodies the business belongs to if any.
  • * State your VAT number if applicable (websites).
When a customer places an order they must be provided with a statement to show exactly what they have ordered, the amount paid or payable (Including any future or recurring payments), how the order can be cancelled including a postal address where it can be returned (if applicable) and details of the guarantee or after-sales service including contact telephone numbers for support and customer service issues.
With some exceptions the customer has a seven day cooling off period where they can cancel an order and return their goods for a full refund (providing they have not been damaged). This period starts from either the contract date or the point at which the goods are delivered.

If your business uses cold calling methods to contact your customers you must ensure that you state the full name of the company and the nature of the call before commencing. If you use electronic methods of communication then the individual must be made aware of the company name and commercial nature of the correspondence.