Irish consumers are planning to buy Irish after Brexit and already much has changed from UK websites due to consumer rights concerns.
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has said there has been an 18% increase in the number of people planning to buy more from Irish businesses.
But more than half of consumers still buy from UK businesses. We buy more clothes, shoes and electronics than any other items from UK sellers.
The CCPC surveyed consumers as it highlighted the risks of buying from countries outside the EU. He is concerned that a lack of awareness about consumer rights when buying from countries outside the EU could make consumers more vulnerable after Brexit.
From 1 January, many of the rights consumers have become familiar with when buying from the UK will no longer apply.
Consumers are advised to check where the businesses they are buying from are.
Purchases from websites in the EU come with solid consumer rights, including the right to return goods for up to 14 days after you receive them, if you simply change your mind. This principle should apply to UK purchases made in December.
So, in other words, if you want to return something to a UK seller in January, they should apply EU consumer rights. However, in the absence of any formal agreement between the EU and the UK, if UK business does not honor consumer rights, your ability to reach a decision could be difficult.
If there is a dispute, there is no one to appeal because the UK will no longer be an EU member state. Therefore, a rogue seller cannot be forced to give consumers his EU rights.
You should also check the cancellation and return policy if you are buying from businesses outside the EU. Many consumers do not and can often lose out as a result. You should check and see if you can change the item if you change your mind.
It’s also worth checking if you can cancel the order before it is shipped, or if you receive the item, ask who will pay the cost of returning the package – you or the business you’re buying from? Many of the large online retailers have a free return policy.
The next one is a crucial one, and many of us are caught out by it. Check if there are any additional taxes or charges if you are buying from outside the EU, from 1 January, which will cover the UK. VAT and customs charges can often apply on delivery.
To protect yourself, pay by card. If a business charges you twice or fails to make the purchase, you can use a facility called Chargeback, which will see your bank return the money to your card and penalize the business. This is worth considering if there is any dispute with the company and you feel you have been cheated.
Brexit will mean that we, as consumers, will have to change behavior. We are now used to buying from UK brands, and in a few short weeks that won’t be as easy or simple a procedure as it used to be.
Buying from the UK will be like buying from any other country outside the EU. If you’ve had a customs charge when you ordered something from the US or China, you’ll know the feeling when you realize, that deal, well, wasn’t such a big deal after all!
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is raising awareness about this, because it knows full well that consumers will be affected quite quickly.
Gráinne Griffin of the CCPC said: “In the run up to Christmas, more consumers are shopping online than ever and it is important for consumers to be aware that from 1 January, Brexit will mean changes in purchasing online or return goods from the UK- based businesses.
“This is particularly important for those who may be thinking of buying high value goods from UK businesses and want to feel confident that this can easily follow in the new year in case of any back issues sell. “
In short, they want us all as consumers to be aware of Brexit if we shop online this Christmas.