This Section sets out the rules governing transactions for goods or services in which the buyer and the seller, having been brought into communication through a marketing communication, conduct their business without meeting faceto- face.
Mail order and direct response marketing communications are not acceptable unless:
(a) the name and full address of the advertiser is stated in the marketing communication (in the case of a print marketing communication this should be separate from any response coupon), or
(b) arrangements have been made for enquirers to be informed by media of the name and full address of the advertiser.
A separate address for orders may also be given. This need not be a full address but may be a Freepost or Box Number.
Distance selling marketing communications should:
(a) include the main characteristics of the products;
(b) include the price, including any VAT, taxes payable, and other inescapable costs to the consumer, and payment arrangements;
(c) provide information on how to access the advertiser?s details if the offer is sent by Short Message Service (SMS) or Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) and all details cannot be included in the communication.
Orders should be fulfilled within 30 days, except:
(a) where security is provided for purchasers’ money through an independent scheme;
(b) for goods such as plants and made-to-measure products, where the estimated time of delivery should be made clear;
(c) where a series of goods is to be dispatched in sequence; in such cases only the first delivery need be made within 30 days but the period within which subsequent deliveries will be made should be stated.
Goods supplied should conform to any relevant and accepted standard and to the description given in the marketing communication.
Advertisers should refund all money promptly (and at the latest within 30 days of notice of cancellation being given) when:
(a) consumers have not received their goods or services; alternatively, advertisers may, if asked, provide a replacement;
(b) goods are returned because they are damaged or faulty or are not as described, in which case the advertisers should bear the cost of their return, provided that the consumer gives notice within a reasonable period of time;
(c) consumers cancel within seven clear working days after delivery; consumers should assume that they can try out goods unless the marketing communication says otherwise; such goods nevertheless should be returned undamaged;
(d) an unconditional money-back guarantee is given and the goods are returned within a reasonable period;
(e) goods that have been returned are not received back, provided consumers can produce proof of posting.
Advertisers do not have to provide a full refund on:
(a) perishable, personalised or made-to-measure goods provided all contractual and statutory obligations to the consumer are met;
(b) goods that can be copied, unless they fall under 4.5(a), (b) or (c), with the exception of audio or video recordings or computer software if unsealed by the consumer.
When an advertiser offers to supply goods on approval, the consumer will be expected (subject to 4.5 (b) above) to bear the cost of return of unwanted goods unless the advertiser has undertaken to refund such costs.
Advertisers should be in a position to meet any reasonable demand created by their advertising. If a product proves to be available in insufficient quantity, advertisers should take immediate action to ensure that any further marketing communications are amended or withdrawn.
If advertisers intend to call on respondents personally, this should be made clear in the marketing communication or in a follow-up letter. Advertisers should provide a reply-paid postcard or telephone contact to allow consumers an adequate opportunity to refuse a home visit.
Advertisers, when using media primarily targeted at children, should not promote products that are unsuitable for children.
Goods and, where applicable, samples should be packaged in such a way as to be suitable for delivery to the customer. Particular care should be taken when packaging products that may fall into the hands of children.
Advertisers should be aware that media may, in respect of cash – with – order marketing communications, require special undertakings over and above the requirements set out in this Section.Media may also require undertakings that advertisers have adequate arrangements to handle all orders efficiently.
Attention is drawn to the requirements of the Data Protection Acts, 1988 and 2003, in regard to the collection, processing, keeping, use and disclosure of personal data.
Attention is also drawn to the requirements of the European Communities (Protection of Consumers in Respect of Contracts Made by Means of Distance Communication) Regulations, 2001 (S.I. No. 207 of 2001).