Be confident shopping online on Black Friday

November 21, 2017

Are you counting down to Black Friday? As well as researching the deals that are on offer it is important that you know your rights as well. Our consumer helpline sees an increase in queries about online shopping during November, December and January over the past number of years with problems around delivery and returns being the main issues experienced by consumers.

Make sure you know if the ‘special’ offer is really special

Do your research before the sales; find out the price before the discount so that you know you are getting the best value for your money. Be suspicious of websites you’re not familiar with which sell items for significantly less than the recommended or average retail price. If you are uncertain whether a site is selling genuine products, check with the manufacturer for details of authorised sellers.

You have strong protection when you shop online from an EU website

The Consumer Rights Directive (CRD) protects you when you shop online, but it only applies to businesses based in the EU. You don’t have the same level of protection if you are buying online from a business outside of the EU, so make sure you check the website’s physical address to see where it is based. If it’s outside the EU, read the website terms and conditions carefully, and check what their returns policy is as you will be relying on this if there’s a problem and 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.

You can change your mind and return something

When you shop online you are buying at a distance so unlike in a shop where you can see the item before you buy it, when your online order arrives, it  may not be what you expected; you may not be happy with the quality, fit or colour. Or you might just change your mind. Your consumer rights when you buy online from an EU-based website give you the option to examine what you have bought and if you are not happy with it for any reason you can send it back and get a full refund.

So, if you change your mind about something you buy online you have a right to cancel which lasts for 14 days after you receive the item. This means you have the right to cancel an order for any reason and get a full refund, including any standard delivery costs you may have paid. You then have 14 days to return the item from the day you cancel the order with the retailer. You should receive a refund within 14 days of cancellation, but a business can wait to refund you until you have returned the item or have proof of return postage. You may have to pay for the cost of returning it so check this with the website before you buy.

Do my rights change if I buy something on Black Friday?

No, you have the same rights during a sale as any other time of the year- so the right to cancel up to 14 days after you receive your order if you bought something in an online sale from a business in the EU. You also have the right to return something which is damaged or not working.

 What happens if my order is not delivered?

If your order doesn’t arrive within 30 days, or within the timeframe promised by the company, you can contact the business and arrange another date that is suitable for you or cancel the order and receive a full refund. If the retailer guarantees delivery by Christmas if you order by a certain date, they have to meet this obligation. So, if you order by the date specified and don’t receive the goods by Christmas, you should contact the business and arrange another date that is suitable to you or cancel the order and receive a full refund.  The business should refund you without any delay.

If you are having trouble getting a refund, you may be able to request a chargeback from your credit or debit card provider for non-delivery of goods.


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