Friday 20 October 2017

Is it safe to shop for presents online and should I stick to Irish sites?

Aine Carroll

Ishop online for flights (because I have to!) and I'm just about getting the hang of it. Our grandkids have sent us links of things they want for Christmas – and they are all online. So I'm thinking about braving online shopping.

But is it safe and is my credit card protected? Most of the websites that my grandkids have sent on seem to be outside Ireland but is it safer to use Irish websites?

When shopping online, take some time to find out who you are buying from. If you have never heard of a website, do a quick search online to see if there is any negative feedback from others. Buy from a reputable website or one with positive user feedback, and make sure you read the terms and conditions before you buy.

Buying something online is called 'distance buying' and there are rules that online retailers based in the EU must follow, such as providing you with certain information, including the total price of what you are buying, as well as any taxes.

When you buy online, there is a seven-day cooling-off period, which in most cases entitles you to cancel the order or return the product within seven days of delivery.

However, if you want to return it just because you have changed your mind, you may have to pay for postage. If the item is faulty, then you don't have to pay. Remember, these rules only apply within the EU.

If you buy online, you usually use a debit or credit card, so you have access to a chargeback facility – you can contact your card issuer and ask for the transaction to be reversed if the goods are not delivered or are faulty.

But before you request a chargeback, you should contact the trader and ask for a refund.

Consumers can also use the Small Claims process in Ireland to make a claim against a business based elsewhere in the EU.

For more information, check out www.consumerhelp.ie

Got a question for Aine? Then contact her at acarroll@independent.ie

Irish Independent

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