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Your consumer rights could change post-Brexit when you buy from a British shop

Ordering something from the UK post-Brexit could include a Vat rate of €22 or more.

Image: Shutterstock/Liderina

CUSTOMERS WHO BUY from British shops should check what their consumer rights, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has said.

It’s also warned that ordering from non-EU businesses carries a Vat rate of €22 or more (plus shipping). You also legally have to pay import charges such as customs or excise duties on items you buy from outside the EU, which are valued at €150 or more.

As part of the EU, Ireland’s consumer rights come from the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD), which means that in most cases, you can cancel your order within 14 days of delivery. We’re also exempt from tariffs and customs costs as Ireland is part of the EU’s Customs Union and Single Market.

But once the UK leaves the EU, Irish customers ordering from UK-based businesses will no longer automatically have access to these rights. If the business they are ordering from is in the EU, then your rights will not change because of Brexit.

If a shop in Ireland is owned or run by a UK chain, all your consumer rights will be exactly the same when you buy from a shop in Ireland despite Brexit.

To check where a business is located, the CCPC advises not to rely too much on the website’s domain name (for example, .co.uk).

The CCPC advises that in general when buying from a website outside the EU, it is very important to read the terms and conditions on the website, and ask:

  • Can you change your mind about an order if you want to return it?
  • Can you cancel an order before it is dispatched?
  • Do you have the right to return the item and if you can return an item, who pays for the cost of returning it – you or the business?

If you buy something before the 29 March, the day that the UK is due to leave the European Union, your 14-day cancellation period under the CRD may no longer be valid if you try to cancel your order. 

If you buy something from a UK-based business before Brexit that has a fault, or if it is not delivered, you may not have access to redress using the European Consumer Centre or the European Small Claims Procedure after Brexit.

More information is available here on the CCPC website.

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