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shopping online....goods charged for, before dispatch

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ermintrude35 | 20:01 Wed 05th Aug 2009 | Law
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Usually when I have purchased stuff onlne , charges are deducted from my bank account on the day stuff is dispatched . However I have recently purchased a sofa online and it's not due to be delivered until the end of this month, however I seem to be paying for it allready.

When I worked for Woolworths we were obliged to inform customers that goods purchased from the instore ordering service would not be charged until it was dispatched from our depot., which could take up to 28 days to dispatch, I presumed this was the law, but really didnt think much of it until now.

When I contacted Littlewoods they said that I got charged the moment I ordered the sofa. I'm just wondering if anyone knows anything about this?, so as I can be prepared with the right facts when I ring up.

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This reason isn't one of statutory necessity, but one of contractual creation.
Online sellers don't take money until dispatch for a few reasons: in case they have made a mistake on the price. This way, there's no legal contract until the goods would be sent- so the company can check before they post them and wouldn't have to spend time trying to recall mis-priced goods, and the 'buyer' doesn't have any legal entitlement to the goods. Secondly, they may find they don't have the goods in stock due to over ordering- so by not taking money until dispatch, there's no issue of breaching any contract through failing to deliver on time.
Taking money at the time of ordering may be unusual, but is certainly not illegal. However, they now have a contract with you, so cannot move delivery dates (when time is 'of the essence') and cannot request more money in case of production difficulties. Plus, from their point of view, if you change your mind, you now have no entitlement to demand a refund in the interim period between ordering and delivery, which helps maintain their profits. Also, I guess that if they're building you a bespoke sofa, they might want the money to pay for the manufacture.
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thanks Gmcd01...it's not bespoke , mass produced is more like my budget!...ah well all I can say is hurry up and deliver it because we've been sitting on folding picnic chairs since end of July when the new carpet went down!

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