Irish consumers are considering buying Irish after Brexit, and many have already switched from UK websites due to consumer rights concerns.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has reported an 18% increase in the number of people planning to buy more from Irish-based businesses.
But more than half of consumers here buy from UK-based businesses. We buy more clothing, footwear and electronics than any other item from UK sellers.
The CCPC surveyed consumers, pointing out inaccuracies in purchases from non-EU countries. There are concerns that the lack of awareness of consumer rights when purchasing from non-EU countries will further weaken consumers after Brexit.
From January 1, many of the rights that users are familiar with when purchasing in the UK will no longer apply.
Users are advised to check where the businesses they are buying from are based.
Purchases from EU based websites have strong consumer rights, including the right to return the goods within 14 days of receiving them, if you change your mind. This principal applies to purchases made from the UK in December.
So, in other words, if a UK seller wants to return something in January, they must exercise EU consumer rights. But in the absence of a formal formal agreement between the European Union and the UK, your ability to find a resolution is difficult if a UK business does not respect consumer rights.
If there is a dispute, there is no one to appeal to as the UK is no longer a member of the European Union. Therefore, consumers cannot force a rogue seller to grant them EU rights.
If you are buying from businesses outside the EU, you should also consider cancellation and return policies. Many consumers do not, and they are often lost. If you change your mind you should check if the item can be returned.
Can you cancel the order before sending, or if you receive the item, ask who will pay for the package refund – you or the business you are buying? Many large online retailers have a return returns policy.
The next one is crucial, and many of us catch it. If you buy from outside the EU from January 1, check to see if there are any additional taxes or rates, including the UK. VAT and customs charges often apply on delivery.
To protect yourself, pay by card. If a business charges you twice or fails to deliver a purchase, you can use a service known as a chargeback, which your bank will refund to your card and penalize the business. If there is any dispute with the company and you feel cheated, this should be considered.
Brexit means that, as consumers, we need to change our behavior. We are now well acquainted with buying from UK brands and in a few weeks it will not be so easy or simple.
Buying in the UK is like buying in any other non-EU country. If you have been charged a customs duty when ordering something from the US or China, you know the experience you feel when you realize, that bargain was not such a bargain!
Competition and the Consumer Protection Commission are raising awareness about this because they are well aware that consumers will be affected very quickly.
Griffin Griffin from Chpch said: “In the Christmas build, more customers are shopping online than ever before.
“This is especially important for those who are considering buying high value items from UK based businesses and for those who want to be confident that it will be easy to follow in the New Year if they have after sales problems.”
In short, they want us to be Brexit conscious as consumers if we shop online this Christmas.