With just over four shopping weeks to Christmas, get cracking if you're planning to buy your gifts online.
Remember, it doesn't always work out cheaper to buy over the internet than on the high street - in fact, it can work out at more than twice the price. Here are six gifts you could pay more for online.
Disney Frozen dolls
More than twice the price
Although the Disney movie Frozen was released a year ago, dolls from the film are expected to be some of the biggest-selling toys this Christmas. The Disney Store on Dublin's Grafton Street did not have one such doll - the Classic Sparkle Elsa - in stock early last week. You can buy that doll for €20 in the Disney Store - when it's in stock.
However, you could pay more than twice the price to buy the same doll online. Early last week, one seller had the doll up for sale on ebay.ie for €34.94 - plus €9.85 postage. So, including postage, you could have paid as much as €45 for the Classic Sparkle Elsa doll on ebay.ie.
The classic Frozen Anna doll was still in stock in Dublin's Disney Store last week. At €20, it too was almost half the price which could have been paid for the same doll online. One seller had priced that doll at €19.40 on ebay.ie last week. As the seller was based in the United States, it would have cost another €19.30 for postage, bringing the total price of the doll to €38.70.
Lego Movie Benny's Spaceship
70pc more expensive
Another toy which is expected to be a best-seller this Christmas is the Lego Movie Benny's Spaceship. This costs €76.99 in Smyths Toys.
Buy it on pixmania.ie, however, and you'll pay €129.90, including €9.90 postage.
Game of Thrones DVDs
10pc more expensive
The fantasy drama television series was one of the most-watched shows earlier this year, so the latest box set may well be on your loved one's Christmas list.
It could cost you 10pc more to buy season three online than on the high street, however. A Blu-ray box set of Season 3 was priced at €44.99 in HMV Henry Street, Dublin last week - while the online retailer, Rakuten Play.com charged €49.60 (including free delivery).
The Bone Clocks
7pc more expensive
This thriller, by the British author David Mitchell, is tipped to be one of the most popular book gifts this Christmas.
The paperback was €17.99 in Eason's on Dublin's O'Connell Street early last week. Although at €11.25, the book was priced cheaper on amazon.co.uk, once you added in a standard delivery charge of €8, the total cost of the book came to €19.25 - more than what you would have paid in Eason. (At amazon.co.uk, you must spend €31 to be eligible for free delivery to Ireland).
Sony Smart Watch 3
2pc more expensive
This watch, which allows you to make and receive calls and check your emails, could be the ideal gift for those who can't let a minute go by without checking their email.
At €229.99 in Curry's it doesn't come cheap. However, you could pay more online. For example, the same watch was priced at €233.86 on amazon.co.uk last week.
Of course it doesn't always work out more expensive to buy online. Films and documentaries released a few years ago can be much cheaper to buy online than in a high street store. Computers and computer components can often be bought cheaper on websites such as dabs.ie, elara.ie and komplett.ie.
It is important to shop around the high street as well as online retailers to get the best price for the gift you are after. Price-comparison websites, such as pricespy.ie, can help you find out where the cheapest place is to buy something.
When ordering online, always check how much extra you will have to pay in delivery charges. You should also be wary of customs charges.
You usually have to pay 23pc Vat (value added tax) on the full value of the item if you order something online from outside the EU which is worth more than €22. Furthermore, if the item you order is worth more than €150, chances are you'll be hit with import duties as well. On top of the Vat and import duties, you'll have to cough up a €7 handling fee to An Post. So know exactly where your gifts will be shipped from before you order them. You could be hit for customs if you order from an online retailer based in Hong Kong or the US for example.
One of the biggest headaches you could run into when you order a gift for Christmas is for that gift not to arrive on time. You can get your money back if a gift arrives late. "In the run up to Christmas, a number of retailers will guarantee to deliver before Christmas," said a spokeswoman for the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission. "If they don't deliver within the date they 'guaranteed', you can cancel your order and you are still entitled to a refund."
Another problem which you may run into is that the gift you ordered turns out to be faulty. As you only learn of the fault after your loved one opens the gift on Christmas day, you could be concerned that you won't be able to get a refund or replacement - because it is some time since you initially bought the gift.
As long as you are not to blame for the fault, you are still entitled to a refund if the gift you have bought does not work from the outset. You are also entitled to get the gift repaired or replaced if the fault is discovered after the gift has been used for some time. As long as the fault occurs within the first six months of you buying the item, it is accepted that the fault was there when you bought it.
You can only be sure of your rights to a refund, repair or replacement if you buy from a website based in the EU. A website with an Irish or European domain name isn't always based in Ireland or the EU. Check exactly where a website is based before you order. Otherwise, you might not have a leg to stand on if you run into problems.
Sunday Indo Business