When it comes to online shopping, the excitement of finding that perfect item can sometimes turn into disappointment upon delivery. Whether it’s a size mismatch, a quality concern, or simply a change of heart, understanding your rights and options for online shopping (OHS) returns is crucial. In the UK, consumers are protected by robust regulations that ensure your online shopping experience is fair and flexible. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about OHS returns, from changing your mind about a purchase to ensuring you’re fully informed about your rights.

Understanding Your Right to Return

The Consumer Contracts Regulations

In the UK, the Consumer Contracts Regulations give you the right to return an item bought online within 14 days of receiving it. This two-week period is known as the ‘cooling-off period’, during which you can change your mind for any reason and get a full refund. This law applies to most online purchases, but there are exceptions, such as personalized items or perishable goods.

What You Need to Know

  • Cooling-off period: You have 14 days to notify the seller of your intention to return the item and another 14 days to send it back.
  • Exceptions: Understand which products are exempt from returns to avoid surprises.
  • Refund entitlements: You’re entitled to a full refund, including basic delivery costs, within 14 days of the retailer receiving the returned item.

For help with questions related to your issue, you can chat with one of Contend’s legal experts, and get immediate answers to your legal questions.

How to Handle Returns

Initiating a Return

To start the return process, check the retailer’s return policy on their website. Most retailers provide a return form with your order or instructions on how to initiate a return online. Be clear about your reason for the return, as this can affect how smoothly the process goes.

Packaging and Sending Items Back

  • Original packaging: Whenever possible, return the item in its original packaging to ensure it arrives in good condition.
  • Proof of postage: Always get proof of postage when returning an item. This can be crucial if the package goes missing in transit. Royal Mail offers a service where you can get a certificate of posting to prove that you posted the item.

Refund Processing

Once the retailer receives the returned item, they have 14 days to process your refund. This includes the cost of the item and basic shipping costs, though you may have to cover the return shipping.

Consumer: ohs returns

Common Questions About OHS Returns

Can I return an item if I’ve used it?

The right to return an item is intended for goods that are essentially ‘as new’. If you’ve used the item beyond what’s necessary to inspect it, the retailer may have the right to reduce your refund to cover the diminished value.

What if my item is faulty?

If an item is faulty, not as described, or doesn’t do what it’s supposed to, you have rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. You can return a faulty item within 30 days for a full refund. Beyond this period, you may be entitled to a repair, replacement, or partial refund.


Online shopping offers convenience and variety, but it’s important to know your rights when it comes to returns. By understanding the Consumer Contracts Regulations and how to effectively manage returns, you can shop online with confidence. And with Contend’s revolutionary AI technology, you have access to legal advice at your fingertips, ensuring that you’re never alone in navigating the complexities of OHS returns. So, before you make your next online purchase, remember that knowledge is power—and Contend is here to empower you.

Ready to Take Control of Your Online Shopping Returns?

Chat now with Contend’s legal expert. Get the guidance you need to navigate OHS returns confidently and make informed decisions about your online purchases.

You can click here to chat with one of Contend’s legal experts today.

For more info, check out some of our related articles:

Contend logo and icon in light purple