What can I do if item bought online is not delivered?

I bought a dress on a website I believe is based in Avignon – but it did not come and they did not respond to emails. What can I do? FF


NORMALLY if a firm is based in France (often with a website ending in .fr) you have various legal rights of redress. If it is based abroad, however it may be more difficult, especially if it is outside the EU.

You say this one was France-based, however on checking the site you supplied, it appears the firm has changed name – we were redirected to a different one. We could see no physical address for the siège social (headquarters) or other details such as its chamber of commerce registration number (RCS) or phone number – these should be provided by law, often via a link named ‘mentions légales’. We would not recommend buying from sites that do not give them.

If buying on the internet you should receive your item by the deadline agreed, or if no date was specified, in 30 days.

If phoning or emailing get you nowhere, the next stage would usually be to send a recorded delivery letter to the firm’s address, explaining the problem, giving the order numbers, and putting the firm on a warning (mise en demeure) to deliver the goods in a reasonable additional period.

If this fails, you may cancel the contract, via recorded delivery letter. (You may cancel straight away without any warning if the conditions said meeting the deadline was an essential condition). You should be reimbursed in 14 days.

If this fails the next options are to seek help from a consumer body such as UFC Que Choisir (see www.economie.gouv.fr/dgccrf/Partenaires-283), complain to tranding standards (www.economie.gouv.fr/dgccrf/coordonnees-des-DDPP-et-DDCSPP) or court action.

For disputes under €4,000 this would be in the tribunal de proximité nearest your home or the firm, or otherwise the tribunal d’instance or de grande instance.

If the problem relates to a firm in another part of the EU you can obtain advice from the European Consumer Centre, at www.europe-consommateurs.eu/fr/accueil

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