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Why should you only shop from EU based sites? Things to consider when shopping online

DUBLIN: Today’s society places more emphasis on online shopping than traditional shopping. But there are a number of things to keep in mind when shopping online. When choosing a website for shopping, you should find details on where the site is based. If you can’t find it, consider buying from an alternative website.

Shoppers in Ireland have been warned by the Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) not to assume that a website is based in the European Union just because it has a .ie domain name. The commission says buying from sites outside the EU means adding taxes and charges to the sale prices. At the same time, inferior consumer rights may apply, it said. If the registered address is outside the EU, the buyer’s consumer rights will be different.

Charges that apply for purchases from UK website

All online shopping orders received from the UK are now subject to Irish VAT and customs charges. But it will not affect Northern Ireland.

People can avoid import charges by keeping the value of any item ordered from the UK website below €22. But if the customs value is more than 22, people usually have to pay Irish VAT – even if the UK charges VAT on the purchase. If you have been charged, you will need to seek a UK VAT refund from your supplier. Now if the value of the item alone is more than €150, you will have to pay both VAT and customs duty. This does not apply to transportation, insurance and handling charges.

What are the consumer protections if you buy from a UK site?

If you shop from a UK website or a non-EU website, you may not automatically have the right to return your purchase. Or the time period for returns may have changed. Therefore, the CCPC says that before purchasing, people should always carefully examine the terms and conditions to find out what it says about returns.

Rights you receive if you purchase from an EU-based business

If you buy from a European site, including Ireland, you have strong consumer protection. It ensures that you have sufficient and clear information and are not misled before purchasing. You are also entitled to a refund if anything goes wrong. But, if purchased from a non-EU website, these rights do not automatically apply.

Who is responsible for delay in delivery?

The CCPC states that a business is responsible for the purchase until it is delivered to you. If you purchase from an EU website you must receive your products within 30 days. If the business does not deliver it to you within the agreed time, they must agree to another date, or you can get a refund by cancelling the contract.

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