The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has ordered another computer retailer to revise its terms and conditions, in a move which should see consumers getting a fairer deal in the future.
Micro Anvika has given an undertaking to the OFT that it will stop using unfair terms in its consumer contracts and will abide by distance selling laws, following a complaint by trading standards.
The company's terms and conditions previously excluded liability for defective or misdescribed goods if they were not reported by consumers within a very short time, and excluded or limited its liability for defective software.
The problem with companies not sticking to regulations governing consumer rights was highlighted in a report issued by the OFT in December 2002.
The report found that many consumers buy IT goods and services from home, either via the web or through catalogue or home shopping, and the products often involve complicated contracts.
According to the OFT these contracts often show evidence of non-compliance with consumer laws, such as the Distance Selling Regulations (DSR) and Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations (UTCCR), particularly regarding the return of goods.
In addition to Micro Anvika, eleven other companies - including Mesh Computers, Dabs and Watford Electronics - have had to give similar undertakings to the OFT over the last 18 months to revise their terms and conditions.
Mesh agreed that it would revise its terms to allow consumers to cancel their contract without penalty when it is unable to provide the goods ordered, or when there is an unreasonable delay in supplying the goods.
A spokesman for the OFT, which aims to produce specific guidance to the IT sector on unfair contract terms and distance selling laws by September 2003, told vnunet.com that many of the terms used by these companies failed to meet either the DSR or the UTCCR.
"We are highlighting the problem in general and this will allow other companies to take note," he said.
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