FAQ #BlackFriday2021: What are my rights when shopping the Black Friday sales?

November 26, 2021

Each month, we share the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) from the hundreds of consumers who contact us. For this FAQ Friday, we’ve put together a guide to your consumer rights and entitlements when shopping the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

Change-of-mind returns:

If you have bought an item in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, but then change your mind and wish to return it, it’s important to be aware that your rights and entitlements are different depending on whether you bought the item online, or in-store. If you buy something online and subsequently change your mind, under EU consumer protection law, you have 14 days from the day the item arrives, to cancel your order and a further 14 days to return the item and get a full refund. However, if you change your mind about an item you bought in-store, your rights and entitlements will depend on the store’s own returns policy, unless the item is faulty. Most stores will offer a returns period, however, it’s important to be aware that this is a goodwill gesture on the part of the store, not a legal obligation. So be sure to check out the ‘change-of-mind returns’ policy before making any in-store purchases.

Faulty Goods:

If you buy an item which turns out to be faulty, regardless of whether you paid full price or bought it on sale, under EU consumer protection law, you have the right to either: a refund, a repair, a replacement product or a reduction in price, as a solution. However, it’s important to note that consumer protection law doesn’t currently set out which of those you are entitled to when you return a faulty item, so it is up to you to negotiate with the business and agree which option suits you best. In all cases of faulty goods, act quickly and contact the business who sold you the item as soon as you can to seek redress.

EU –v- non-EU consumer rights:

If you are planning to shop the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales online this year, one of the most important things to be aware of is that your consumer rights are different depending on where the business is based. If you buy from an EU-based business you have strong consumer protections, which ensure that you have enough, clear information and are not misled before you make a purchase. Importantly, it ensures that you have rights if something does go wrong – particularly the right to a refund. Buying from a non-EU website means that these rights do not automatically apply and therefore, if something does go wrong, it may be more difficult to get the issue resolved. This is particularly important to consider if you are buying high-value items, in case any issues arise down the line.

Buying from a non-EU website:

If you are buying from a non-EU website, including a UK website, you may not automatically have the right to return a purchase, or the timeframes for returns may be different. So, before you buy, always check the terms and conditions T&Cs to find out what it says about returns such as;

  •         Can you return an item if you change your mind and within what timeframe?
  •         Can you cancel an order before it is sent to you?
  •         Who pays for the cost of returning it – you, or the business?

Also check what the T&Cs say about faulty products and if there are any limits to the business’s returns or faulty goods policy. If so, you may consider buying from an EU-based website to ensure you have strong rights.

A ‘.ie’ domain is not a guarantee of an Irish-based business:

When shopping online, be sure to check where a business is based before you make a purchase. Check the business’s registered address in the T&Cs section of the website to find out where they are registered. This is an essential step, even if you have bought from the business previously, or if the site has a ‘.ie’ or ’.eu’ domain, as this is not always a sign of where a business is registered or based. If you cannot find these details, consider buying from an alternative website. If the registered address is outside of the EU (which includes the UK) then your consumer rights may be different.  If a business has more than one website with a number of different domains – e.g. ‘.de’ or ‘.co.uk’ be sure to check the registered address on each website before you buy from it.

Delivery delay follow-ups:

If you buy from an EU website (unless you have agreed an alternative delivery date with the business) your purchases should be delivered within 30 days. If a business does not deliver it to you within the timeframe agreed they should either:

  1. Agree a different date, or
  2. Allow you to cancel the contract and get a full refund

It’s important to be aware that a business is responsible for goods until they are delivered to you, unless you organised your own delivery. This means that if a business organises a courier to deliver an item to you, they must ensure its delivery and if the item is not delivered they should organise a replacement or a refund.

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