Christmas shopping online: Make sure you know your rights

Here's what you need to know...

If you're not quite up to braving the shops, there's still time to shop online for your Christmas presents. Those decided to shop online must be aware of their rights, however, so as to ensure they're not left disappointed.

EU laws protect us when we shop online. The Consumer Rights Directive provides cover to those who buy from businesses based in the EU, so it's always important to note the geographical location of a business before you buy. We have different rights for businesses based outside the EU. It's important to note that a .ie or .co.uk web address does not automatically mean the company is based in that country. 

Before you buy, check out the returns policy and ensure the retailer is reputable. If you're ordering from outside of the EU, ensure you allow ample time for delivery. 

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 day, 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, agree a delivery date or time frame with the business. If the business fails to fulfill 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.