Shopping online this Christmas? Know your rights

From a faulty product to a delayed delivery...

As we roll on closer to Christmas, the shops will become more and more manic. Shopping online means we can avoid the busy crowds, however, it’s important to know your rights to ensure you’re not left disappointed or out of pocket.

The first thing to remember when shopping online is that not every website is legitimate. The advice is to stick to reputable websites and ones which come recommended. If you find a good deal on a particular site and are unsure if it is real or not, simply Google the company name. You’ll find bad reviews and, unfortunately, some horror stories quick enough.

Once you’ve decided upon your purchase, spend an extra few seconds verifying the security of the transaction page. Look for the lock symbol in the URL bar and check if the prefix to the website is https://. The ‘s’ indicates the security. 

EU laws are in place to protect us when we shop online. It’s worth noting, however, that the Consumer Rights Directive only provides cover to those who buy from EU based businesses. The geographical location of the company matters. Just because a website has a .ie or .co.uk web address does not mean the company is based in that country.

Here are your rights when a purchase has been made.

Change of mind:

When an item is bought online, consumers have a 14-day "cooling-off" period. This starts on the day the item is received. It's possible to cancel the order and receive a refund. Consumers are not obliged to give a reason for their cancelling of the order, but they may have to foot the bill for returning the item. The item must be returned within 14 days. 

The does not apply, however, if the item purchased was customised. 

No show:

If an item, purchased on an EU website, is not delivered within 30 days, or another date agreed upon by you and the retailer, it's possible to cancel the order. Consumers should receive a refund, including any delivery charge, without delay. 

When you buy an item online, beware of the delivery date or time frame. If the business fails to fulfil their end of the agreement, you are entitled to a refund.  

Faulty:

If the item you purchased turns out to be faulty, consumers have the same rights online as they do in-store. It's advised that you contact the online retailer and ask for a refund or replacement. If the business agrees to a refund, that should be issued to you within 14 days of them receiving the faulty item. They should also cover the shipping costs.