Attention Black Friday shoppers! Always check business location before you buy online
November 17, 2021
Ahead of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is reminding online shoppers of the importance of checking where a business is based before they buy. This follows research which shows that the majority of those who shop online go by the currency and website domain – neither of which should be used as guarantees of a business’s location. So it’s important to check the T&Cs for a registered address before you buy, to ensure you have strong rights under EU consumer protection law.
Location determines your consumer rights
The CCPC’s research findings suggest that most consumers are familiar with shopping online, with the majority (76%) of those surveyed confirming they had bought online over the previous 12 months. However, 32% of consumers thought that their rights are the same irrespective of where a business is based when in fact consumers do not have automatic rights if they buy from a business outside of the EU.
When asked which checks they carry out before buying online from a business they have never used before, the majority (86%) said they would firstly look at what currency is on the website, secondly the website domain (67%) such as ‘.ie’ or ‘.co.uk’ before looking at the information on the business’s social media accounts (59%) before they buy. Looking for the business’s postal address was the fourth most popular check (57%), followed by social influencer reviews (23%) online. 3% of those surveyed said they made no checks prior to buying online.
CCPC top tip
When shopping online, it’s important that you check the registered address of a business before you buy. This is an essential step, even if you bought from the business previously, or if the site has a ‘.ie’ or ’.eu’ domain, or displays their prices in euro. If the registered address is outside of the EU (including the UK) then EU consumer rights may not automatically apply, which may make it more difficult for you to resolve any issues such as delayed deliveries or faulty products.
Your consumer rights are not for sale
When asked about what consumer rights apply when buying sale items online, insights showed that 1 in 3 (34%) consumers did not realise their rights were exactly the same. 14% believed their consumer rights were different, depending on the price paid, 13% didn’t know what consumer rights applied to sale items and a further 7% believed they didn’t have any rights at all when buying items at sale price online. When asked about shopping online from EU-based businesses, only 1 in 6 (15%) correctly identified 28 as the total number of days they have to cancel their order and return the items, in order to receive a full refund.
CCPC top tip
Although you may pay less for a product in a sale, you still have the same consumer rights if an item turns out to be faulty, or if you change your mind. One of the important protections you have when you buy online is the right to return the item and get a refund. You have 14 days from the day you receive it to inform the business, and a further 14 days to return it.
Research & compare pre-sale prices
The CCPC’s insights show that 2 in 5 (39%) consumers are planning to shop during the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. This increases to 75% of under-25s reporting that they are likely to make a purchase. Of those hoping to bag a bargain, 8 in 10 (79%) plan to carry out pre-sale research on prices to confirm that the retailer’s marked discount reflects the most recently displayed full price. However, pre-sale price checks were least likely to be carried out by those under 25 (28%).
CCPC top tip
Do your research and be cautious about taking offers at face value. If a business has products on offer at a reduced price, the products must have been on offer at the advertised original price for a reasonable period before the price was reduced. What is considered a reasonable timeframe is not currently defined in law, although this is soon to change.
Therefore, it’s important to check a few different websites to compare prices before the sales start and then before you buy, to be confident you are getting a good deal.
Click here for more information about your consumer rights when buying online.Return to News