Saturday, 23 January 2010

Distance Selling Directive

Well, if don't think they have to refund me they can think again - county court claim issued. Isn't nice :-)

Also very strange. The web site is one company, listed a dormant with an overdue return.
The emails to them reply from another company (
The card payment shows a different web site for a different company (

Sounds iffy to me. I've emailed their tradings standards office too!

FYI - ordered blue-ray player, week later no joy, cancelled under DSR. They insisted they would not be refunding me as soon as possible as required by the directive and that they had 28 days. The directive says as soon as possible and withing 30 days so no idea where they got 28 from. Anyway, in spite of threats of legal action no refund has happened even 30 days later. Oh, and they tried to deliver weeks later and we refused delivery but they still did not refund.


  1. Just out of interest, say they cough up a refund next week (after receiving the claim paperwork), would you walk away or would you continue the claim to recover your costs?

  2. Well, costs £35, so is a question of whether it is worth my going to Reading for a hearing. Given I have never been to court just to get costs I would learn something from it, making it a cheap training course in the court process and so well worth it.

    I would certainly point out to them that they need to pay the extra £35 to get the case dropped. I would hope they see that they have a lot further to come from Bolton to Reading.

    Although having paid the principle, they are admitting they owed it, so I would expect one could get a judgment without a hearing just for the costs if I wrote to the court. Never tried that. That would also be worth trying to find out.

  3. Have you seen their dodgy-looking "1% discount on TVs 32" and above"? Looks like they're trying to steal (or at least find out) customers' Twitter and Facebook IDs. For a couple of quid discount, I wouldn't touch that with a bargepole - even if I was going to buy from them (which obviously I'm not!)

  4. Yeh, it was total lazy. blu-ray player died (mechanical issue with the tray, I suspect the damn dog myself). I grabbed laptop, searched, ordered, job do.

    When we did not have it a week later and it was all "my fault" - I canceled the order and then cycled to local Tesco Home Plus, popped one in the basket on my bike and came back and installed it. Half an hour or so total. Should have done that in the first place.

    You get so used to internet shopping just working.

  5. which company have you sued? there is no point suing a dormant co - esp as it already has two CCJs against it (digitaldirect gb limited).

    VBA Ltd is a going concern however - with (last year anyway) a filed turnover of 53 million!


  6. Indeed, I was tempted to try vba, bit the web site is pretty clear who I am trading with.

    If there is a fraud of some sort I may simply be able to get the card payment reversed.

  7. Gah. Why can't I cut and paste into this comment box?


    Just spotted that the company number shown on their website (03295373) is invalid.


  8. Err, it says
    Registered in the UK
    Company Registration No: 046 02745

  9. And 03295373 is VBA Ltd and quite valid. Where did you see that?

  10. Hmm. Interesting I cut and pasted that into companies house and it rejected it...

    Ah. Just tried again and spotted why. The number is shown as "0329 5373" and the web site only accepts 8 characters. I removed the space but failed to notice it had lost the final 3.

    OK. Yes, that's VBA. Mea Culpa.


    The page shows the details as:

    Digital Direct (GB) Ltd, Future House, Express Trading Estate, Stonehill Road, Farnworth, Bolton BL4 9TP
    Registered Office: 19 Mather Street, Kearsley, Bolton BL4 8AT
    Registered in the UK No: 0329 5373

    And that registration number definitely doesn't match that company name or address.


  11. Ah shows the other one. I'll get a second defendant added then!

  12. OK, thanks for that Nick.
    Claim re-issued to both companies now.

  13. Actually, you can track them by the VAT number. VBA Ltd. appear to be a serial company operator... dozens of companies all selling similar or identical products with different websites and details.

    VBA Ltd.,, and are all operating under the same VAT number. There are also dozens of other companies all registered at that same address, which according to Google Maps is a single large warehouse type affair.

  14. This all sounds incredibly dodgy to me, If I had to guess, I'd possibly suggest money laundering. How many of these companies are turning a profit, and is one losing LOTS?

    but thanks, it does open your eyes to soemthing that is semingly legitimate and if you dig a little just seem odd and somewhat scary.

    Good luck with it all


  15. Assuming you paid by credit card, and you were acting as a consumer (since you quoted the Distance Selling Regs, I assume you are), the Criedit Card company are jointly liable under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1975 and you should join them in the action. Realistically that should involve writing to them directly, too, saying you have started actions and are claiming costs. They will most probably settle with you directly.

  16. Hi RevK,

    Was inspired by the action you took against a recalcitrant supplier and thought I'd share the following. Not sure if you do "guest rants".

    From Xilo's website: "We aim to answer all support tickets within 60 minutes during office hours and 8 hours outside of these times."

    I placed an order for broadband on 6 March which I cancelled on 9 March under distance selling regulations. The broadband was to be activated on 14 March. Xilo accepted my cancellation on 11 March and confirmed this by email 12 March.

    I have raised several email and support ticket enquiries with Xilo asking for repayment of the £62.99 I paid them for this service. My last communication from Matt at Xilo was on 12 March when he asked for more time to look into the matter.

    I have been patient, however as the delivery date was the 14 March, in my view the company should have either gone ahead with performance of the contract (if they believed that I did not have the right to cancel) or given that they had accepted my cancellation, repaid the price.

    Section 14(3) of the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 states "The supplier shall make the reimbursement referred to in paragraph (1) as soon as possible". Given that I cancelled on the 9th, confirmed this on the 'phone on the 11th, received email acceptance of the cancellation on the 12th, and was to have the service installed on the 14th I cannot see why the company would ignore my correspondence and not issue this refund.

    I believe I have no recourse except through the Courts. I have prepared a summary cause action and intimated to Xilo via the ticket system and email that I would be commencing proceedings tomorrow morning if I had not heard a reply by close of business today. Xilo have disabled my access to the online ticket system so I cannot see if they have replied. This is fair enough as I am no longer a customer, however I have not received any email or calls to say I will be refunded.

    I shall be raising an action in my local Court tomorrow morning, and cannot comment here while the matter is sub judice. I actually hope it gets into Court so we can get some sort of ruling on the requirement to refund "as soon as possible" and a clear ruling that DSRs apply to broadband. This won't bind other Courts but would nonetheless be informative.

    Enjoying your blog, like your attitude about doing things properly - keep up the good work!

  17. Unsure where I fall on this issue. It depends at what point the ISP pay out to BT and are at a loss if you cancel.
    If BT don't raise a charge if the installation is cancelled, for example, up to 1 day before acivation then I believe you should get a refund.
    If the ISP has to pay BT even if the install is cancelled then, imo, an exception to the DSR should be made. Why should the ISP be out of pocket.

  18. Thank you for your prompt and thoughtful reply. Issues such as this seem to have been within the purview of the drafters. There is a provision for when performance of services under the contract begins within the 7 day cooling off period. First, a distinction is made between performance and work which is merely preparatory to providing services. Second, the legislation provides that if the supplier has indeed commenced performance, the consumer is not entitled to cancel without penalty if the supplier has complied with the following obligations:
    - to obtain the consent of the consumer to begin work to supply the service before the end of the 7 day period
    - notify the consumer that they will not be entitled to cancel in such circumstances

    The other interesting part of this legislation is that it requires that the supplier provide both the contract terms and the details of the consumer right to cancel under the DSRs in durable form either at the time of concluding the contract or soon enough after to be useful.
    The legislation does not define "durable medium" but the OFT guidance on this matter is a form which may be reproduced but not likely to an email or a letter but not information on a supplier website (which can be edited by the supplier at any time).

    In my dealings with Xilo, I was neither notified that they would commence performance (ie incur costs and do work to provision my line) before the end of the 7 day period, or that I had any cancellation rights whatsoever under the DSRs. As I had agreed for the installation date to be 8 days after the contract date I was most surprised to hear that they would be assessing charges in respect of my cancellation 3 days after placing the order.

    Finally, my reason for cancelling was that Xilo charged a £40+VAT inbound migration fee and represented that this was a wholesale charge which they were passing on. I am moving from BE retail to a BE wholesale package which they provide. On learning from another supplier that they would do a BE retail to BE wholesale migration free of charge, and doing further research which would suggest that the same exchange port and line card would be used (ie not require Openreach involvement or the presence of an engineer) I felt the £48 I paid to be unnecessarily high.

    I have posted about this on thinkbroadband to try and learn more about the issues and whether Xilo's initial claim that DSRs did not at all apply to broadband suppliers was correct. I have linked to the relevant legislation and OFT guidance, and also mentioned that I was having difficulties as Xilo would not respond to my tickets and emails asking for a refund. Rather shockingly the managing director of Xilo has emailed me on the address I provided when registering for the broadband service to offer to sue me in defamation for the posts I have made!