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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Christian Davis

Virgin Wines has revised its terms and conditions following discussions with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which had concerns regarding delivery and cancellation rights and terms that limited Virgin's liability'. A website called, run by a law firm, Masons, claimed that Virgin Wines broke distance selling rules' and had been forced to change its terms and conditions after the OFT accused the company of falling foul of rules on e-commerce'. Speaking to Harpers on Monday (19 May), Virgin Wines' CEO, Rowan Gormley, strenuously denied breaking the rules and being forced to change. Our distance selling rules required change and updating,' he said. It was completely trivial and we agreed it amicably with the OFT. For example, if you have a complaint, we said you can "phone or email", but the OFT wanted "written" as well. You can send it by carrier pigeon for all we care - if a customer has a problem, we will sort it,' he said. A press release from the OFT stated that it had a number of concerns regarding delivery and cancellation rights, and terms that limited Virgin Wine Online's liability. Virgin Wine Online has amended or deleted the terms and conditions which had potential for consumer detriment.' Terms that concerned the OFT included those that: * allowed delivery to be delayed for certain products beyond the statutory 30 days or the date agreed without refund; * prevented reimbursement of delivery charges when a consumer cancelled. The Distance Selling Rules [DSR] state that the full sum paid must be refunded; * prevented reimbursement following cancellation until certain conditions had been met. The DSRs give consumers an unconditional right to a refund following cancellation; * allowed cancellation to be made only by telephone or e-mail. The DSRs allow other methods too. The OFT also had concerns that a number of terms were potentially unfair under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, including those that: * excluded liability for defective or misdescribed goods. One term has been deleted and another revised to accept liability in circumstances when the supplier is in breach; * excluded or restricted liability for delay. This has been amended to allow limitations only in situations clearly beyond the supplier's control; * limited time for notification of broken or spoiled bottles to 30 days from delivery. This has been extended to 90 days; * allowed cancellation of an order for any reason, other than breakages on delivery, only if notified within seven days, only in exceptional circumstances and at the absolute discretion of the supplier. The term has been deleted; * allowed the supplier the unrestricted right to change the structure and benefits of the Virgin Wine Club. This has been amended so that changes will not affect orders already placed at the time.'