Know your rights before you shop

October 26, 2021

With Black Friday and Christmas only weeks away, here’s a reminder about your consumer rights when you are shopping online or in-store.

Shopping online

Changing your mind

If you buy goods from a business that is based in the EU, you have strong rights when you buy online. One of these rights is a 14-day cooling-off period from the day you receive the goods, which means you can cancel your order for any reason, even if you just change your mind. However, there are some exceptions.

Returns & Refunds

Once you have notified the retailer that you’re cancelling, you have a further 14 days to return the item. They should refund you no later than 14 days after you cancel.

Look for all the information

Before you buy, you should get information on the full price you are paying, including any taxes. So read the terms and conditions as well as any information on delivery, returns and price. By law you should also be given full contact details, including the business’s address, so you know where they are located and how to contact them. However, these rules only apply within the EU. If you are buying outside the EU, check the business’s returns policy so you know what your options are if you want to return your order.

Top Tip:

Check the physical address of the business.

If a website’s web address ends in ‘.ie’, it doesn’t necessarily mean the website is based in Ireland. So make sure to check for details of the postal address of the business before you buy.

Shopping in-store

When you buy something in a shop you are protected by consumer law. Under consumer law the item must be:

  • of merchantable quality
  • fit for purpose
  • as described
You still have rights even if what you bought was on sale

If an item is faulty, your rights don’t change just because it was on sale. Your contract is with the business that sold it to you, so they are responsible for resolving the problem. Under consumer law, this means providing you with either a repair, a replacement or a refund depending on the nature of the fault, but it is up to you to negotiate with the retailer.

Change of mind?

If you change your mind about something you bought in-store, (for example, an item of clothing that doesn’t fit) you don’t have any rights under consumer law to return the item and get a replacement or refund. However, many shops have their own returns policy and will allow you to return something, and may offer you the option of a refund, exchange or credit note, so it’s always worth asking.

Keeping proof of purchase

If you want to return an item, shops will often want proof of purchase. Retailers don’t have a legal obligation to issue you with a receipt. However, you should always ask for one. Receipts are an easy way to prove you bought something in a particular shop.

Find out more about your rights when shopping online or in-store.

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