Consumer rights

What to do if you have a problem buying online

An Post staff and delivery drivers across the country are busy bringing Irish consumers’ online shopping to their doors. From Black Friday follies to well-researched list items, there’s a lot of unboxing this week as online orders reach their destination. Hope most deliveries are as expected. But, if something is wrong, don’t delay – time is running out when it comes to fixing the issues.

Most of us realize that when we shop online we have the same consumer law protections as when we buy in a store. If there is any problem, the seller is obligated to engage with you to resolve it to your satisfaction. In fact, under European law purchasing online is considered a distance contract and therefore you benefit from additional protections.

“The Consumer Rights Directive 2011/83 / EU gives you additional rights when you enter into a distance contract with sellers based in Ireland and other EU countries,” explains Citizens Information. These rights do not apply to consumer-to-consumer transactions (i.e. when you buy from an individual) or if you buy from a merchant based outside the EU.

Another reason to check where an online seller is based before buying.

The first thing to note is that unlike when you buy from a store, the directive gives you the right to return an online purchase even if it is as described, you are free to change your mind. You have 14 calendar days to change your mind without having to justify yourself. This right of withdrawal is also called the cooling-off period.

“Your right of withdrawal begins from the moment you place the order,” explains Citizens Information.

However, your cooling off period will depend on the type of purchase you made.

For goods, the withdrawal period begins when you receive the product. You have 14 days to tell the merchant you want to cancel, and then an additional 14 days to return the products. Be aware that you may have to pay for the cost of returning products, although some large retailers will cover these costs.

What if you hadn’t changed your mind but there had been a nasty surprise during your delivery? Under consumer law, the products you purchase must be of satisfactory quality, fit for the purpose for which you purchased them, and conform to the description. If this is not the case with something you have received, you are entitled to a remedy through repair, replacement or refund. It should be easy with reputable retailers, but you are advised to act as soon as possible.

“The seller must complete any repair or replacement within a reasonable time and without significant inconvenience to you. When a retailer repairs or replaces the defective good and returns it to you, it should cost you no charge,” says Citizens Information. . Regarding refunds, buyers should be aware that they do not have to accept a credit note or voucher if the item is faulty, not in good condition, or does not do what the seller or advertisement said. that he would do. You are entitled to a refund.

You should file a complaint if you are unhappy with the way the issue is being handled, and if you are unhappy with the response, further assistance is available. For disputes with traders based in Ireland, you can contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, while the European Consumer Center in Ireland can help you with a dispute with a trader based in another country. of the EU. A whole other problem arises if your order does not arrive at all. According to the rules of the Consumer Rights Directive, you must receive your products within 30 days of purchase, unless you have agreed to a different delivery time.

“If at the time of purchasing the goods you told the seller that delivery by a certain date was essential and the seller agreed, you can cancel the contract and get a refund if he does not deliver as promised, ”says Citizens Information. Otherwise, if the products are not delivered within the agreed time, you can ask the seller to deliver the items again on an agreed date. If the seller doesn’t deliver within that extra time, you can cancel the contract and get all the money you paid back.

Choice of the week

University students looking for budget mobile deals can currently take advantage of an exclusive 48 offer just for them.

The mobile network currently offers all customers a prepaid SIM-only plan that includes 100 GB of data, all calls and all SMS for € 10.99 per month.

There are no connection fees and customers do not have to commit to any contract. If you want to check data rates, 48 ​​also lets you try their SIM card before you buy.

48 also offers a number of data options for their customers, including the ability to redeem unused minutes for additional data, continue on excess data, and borrow up to 1GB against their monthly allowance. next.

To sweeten the deal further, if a student signs up with their university’s email address and changes their number to 48 by December 17, they’ll receive a $ 20 Uber Eats voucher as a bonus.

Learn more and register on