As Black Friday & the festive period draw closer, how well do you know your consumer rights?

By Lovin' Media

November 16, 2021 at 1:09pm

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With shopping sprees aplenty in the pipeline, it’s time to brush up on your consumer rights…

When trawling through the Black Friday sales and working your way down your Christmas gift list, it’s important to make smart decisions. With the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in your corner, you can check out with confidence.

Helping the masses make informed decisions armed with the knowledge of their rights, the CCPC provides a valuable resource to the public so that if something goes wrong after they purchase a good or service, they know how to deal with it.

Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind while shopping online...

Look for all the information: Before you buy, you should get information on the full price you're paying, including any taxes. Read the terms and conditions as well as any information on delivery, returns and price. By law you should 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're buying outside the EU, including the UK, check the business’s returns policy so you know what your options are if you want to return your order.

Changing your mind: If you buy goods from a business that's based in the EU, you have strong rights when you buy online. One such right 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 and 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.

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 the postal address of the business before you buy.

Here’s a couple of things to keep in mind while shopping in-store...

When making a purchase in-store, you're protected by consumer law, under which the item must be:
- of merchantable quality
- fit for purpose
- as described

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

You've still got rights when 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 who sold it to you, so they're responsible for resolving the problem. Under consumer law this means providing you with either a repair, replacement or refund depending on the nature of the fault, but it's up to you to negotiate with the retailer.

Change of mind: If you change your mind about something you bought in-store, for example the item 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. It’s always worth asking.

Why wait until something goes wrong to research your rights? Take full advantage of the CCPC website, where you’ll find all the information you need to make confident purchases coming up to the season of giving. Find out more from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

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