'Know your rights' - Black Friday online shoppers warned
Online buyers have been warned to get up to speed on their consumer rights ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping sprees.
The warning came as a leading consumer group said that more than half of the items on offer for Black Friday last year were the same price or cheaper months either side of the event.
Retailers in this country said online shopping this Friday is expected to break all records.
A survey conducted by the European Consumer Centre (ECC) found seven out of 10 consumers have bought online in the past year.
But four out of 10 said they were not confident about their rights when buying online.
ECC Dublin's Martina Nee said: "With Black Friday and Cyber Monday comes the temptation to buy first and think later, but we would urge consumers to learn more about their consumer rights in case things go wrong."
ECC Dublin is part of a network that covers 30 countries and offers free advice to consumers on cross-border disputes.
The survey showed that the vast majority of those making online purchases were buying from traders based outside the country.
Some 60pc of these were British online sites.
There were also purchases made from traders based in Northern Ireland and other EU countries such as Germany France, and Spain, as well as outside the European Union, including USA and China.
Ms Nee said some of the main consumer rights to remember when shopping online within the EU included the right to change your mind, otherwise known as the 14-day cooling off period.
She said consumers had rights to clear information, including the trader's full contact details, the express right to a refund for delayed or non-delivery, and the right to redress in the case of faulty goods.
Sergeant Kelvin Courtney of the Garda Crime Prevention National Centre of Excellence warned consumers to be careful.
"Shopping online is safe so long as we use our credit/debit cards correctly. We are asking people to take greater precautions when shopping online than they would if purchasing in the shops," he said.
Retail Excellence said Irish online sites were set to do brisk business in the coming days.
Deputy chief executive of the retail representative body Lorraine Higgins said: "Black Friday sales are becoming an increasingly important part of retailers' strategies.
"With Budget 2018 putting money back in people's pockets we expect consumer sentiment to be up."
She also called on shoppers to support retailers in Ireland.
However, a survey of deals on offer for last year's Black Friday has found more than half were the same price or cheaper months either side of the event, according to a consumer group.
Britain's 'Which?' tracked the Black Friday prices of 35 popular technology, home and personal care products sold by Currys PC World, Argos and Amazon.
All three said separately that they offered large numbers of genuine price-cutting deals as part of Black Friday.