Thursday 22 August 2019

All you need to know about your rights when shopping online this Black Friday

With Black Friday fast approaching, we caught up with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) to find out all you need to know about your rights as a consumer when you buy something online.

Black Friday has, in recent years, become the date in the calendar that kicks off the Christmas season. We’ve all gotten used to doing a good part of our Christmas shopping online before we head out to do the traditional traipsing round the shops in the last few days before Christmas.

Strong protections when you shop online from an EU website

However, shopping online is not always problem-free and we all have had experiences of buying something and either, it doesn’t work, it is vastly different to what we expected, or we just don’t like it. So what can you do if what you’ve bought online doesn’t live up to your expectations?

Áine Carroll is the Director of Communications and Market Insights with the CCPC. We met up with her, to find out what we, as consumers, can do if what we buy online doesn’t arrive on time for Christmas, doesn’t work, or we simply don’t like it, and what if we want to get a refund?

You have strong consumer rights under the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) when you buy something online from a business located in the EU so make sure you check the website’s physical address to see where it is based. If the physical address is outside the EU, the CRD does not apply so read the website’s terms and conditions carefully, and check what their returns policy is as you will be relying on this if you need to send something back. The CRD also doesn’t apply if you are buying online from another consumer – for example, buying something on an online auction site from another consumer.

Change your mind and return something you bought

If you buy from an EU-based website, you have 14 days to contact the seller and cancel the transaction from the day you receive your order. You can cancel for any reason – there doesn’t have to be a fault with the item. You then have to return the item within 14 days and you are entitled to your money back, including any standard delivery costs you may have paid, within 14 days of cancelling. You may have to pay for the cost of returning it so check this with the website before you buy.

You also have rights if your delivery is a no-show

Shopping online can take the stress out of your Christmas shopping, but make sure you do it in plenty of time for Christmas. The last thing you want is the stress of gifts arriving late, or not at all. Any commitment from the company regarding delivery dates must be met by them. So if you see a Black Friday offer that promises delivery by a certain date, then it must arrive on the date specified or you’re entitled to a refund.

And if something you buy is faulty

If you buy something online from an business in the EU and it’s broken or doesn’t work properly there are a number of options open to you depending on the type of fault. These can vary from repair, replacement, reduction in the price or a full refund. Once you notice a problem with something you bought online, you should return it as soon as possible to the business with proof of purchase and explain what has happened. The business must pay for the cost of returning it. If something you buy online from a website outside the EU turns out to be faulty, then contact the business or check the site’s returns policy to find out your next steps.

For more information on your rights when shopping online visit



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