Posted on 28th November 2017 by Martina Nee

Did you go a liittle mad during Black Friday and Cyber Monday and are now wondering what happens if there is something wrong with that wonderful bargain? Maybe you’ve yet to get on the Christmas shopping roller coaster and you are a little uncertain about your consumer rights? Well, you’re not the only one.

A survey conducted by the ECC Ireland team in September found that 73% of Irish consumers surveyed had bought a good or a service online in the past year, however just under half said that they did not feel confident about their consumer rights. It also found that of the online purchases made, the majority of them were cross-border with 60% of them from British traders. Around 57% of survey respondents said that they were planning to do their Christmas shopping online this year. There were also interesting results in relation to shopping cross-border in person with the majority of respondents having travelled to Northern Ireland for a shopping trip. The Irish consumers in this survey were also much more confident about their consumer rights (86.33%) when shopping in person in a shop on the high street.

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consumer rights Christmas shopping online



ECC Ireland consumer rights survey reveals if Irish consumers like to shop online or cross-border in person, and how confident they are

Armed to the teeth with survey forms, shiny promo pens to lure people in, and of course our winning personalities (it’s true), the ECC Ireland ventured forth into the muddy fields of the National Ploughing Championships to collect some data about consumers’ shopping behaviour. Throughout the three days we collected information from consumers who had travelled from around the country to attend the three day outdoor farming event.

What we discovered is that Irish consumers are shopping online more and more and that they are gaining more confidence buying from traders based elsewhere within the EU too, and further afield. However, the results also revealed that consumers still need to gain more knowledge about their consumer rights when shopping online and the confidence to know what to do if things go wrong. The survey showed how Irish consumers travel cross-border to shop, particular to Northern Ireland, and that they have far more confidence about their rights when buying in person in a shop.

Read more about the survey results

Information about your consumer rights

If you want to know more tips to help you learn more about your consumer rights then check out the following links:



Consumer success story of the month:

A consumer bought a new Sony Experia z5 from a French online trader for €422.40 and was charged for this on 6th February. On the trader’s website it stated that delivery would take just 5 to 6 working days. However, by 13th February the consumer still had not received the phone and so she decided to cancel the order. The terms and conditions on the trader’s website stated that the consumer could cancel within 14 days of making the order but when the consumer tried to cancel the contract, the website was not working properly and the customer service department was not answering her emails or Facebook messages. ECC Ireland forwarded the case to colleagues in ECC France who informed the trader of the consumer’s right to the 14 day cooling off period as well as rights in relation to when the trader fails to deliver an item within an agreed time period. The trader then refunded the consumer in full.

Consumer query of the month:

Q: I ordered two custom-made dresses from a UK website. However, when I tried them on, I realised that the first dress did not fit the measurements I provided and the second dress was very poor quality and actually fell apart while I was trying it on. As I was satisfied with the quality of the first dress I had alterations made to it but I wanted to return the second dress and get a refund for it. When I asked the trader for the return address, I didn’t get good response, in fact, they tried to discourage me by saying I had to pay high postage and tax and that the dress would most likely go missing after I return it and that they couldn’t be held responsible for that. They then refused to supply me with an address and said I could just keep the dress and get a 5% refund of the purchase price. What can I do?

A: When you’re shopping online from a trader based within the EU/EEA consumers generally have a right to a ‘cooling-off’ period of 14 calendar days where you can withdraw from the contract and return the purchase to the seller. However, there are exceptions to this. As both of the dresses you ordered were custom-made the right of withdrawal does not apply.

There is a remedy that may be available to you if it can be proven that the dresses did not comply with the contract. Under the Sale of Goods and Associated Guarantees Directive 99/44/EC, a consumer good should comply with the description given by the seller and possess the qualities of the product shown to the consumer as a sample or model, be fit for purpose for which a good of the same type are normally used, and show the quality and performance which are normal in goods of the same type and which the consumer can reasonably expect. However, as the first dress has been altered it would be difficult to now prove that it was not as expected. In relation to the second dress, it may be possible for you to request a partial refund from the trader on the basis that a consumer can reasonably expect that the dress would be of better quality than the pictures and description of the dress of the website.



If you want more information about this or any other cross-border consumer issue, please contact us on 01 8797 620 or go to You can also follow us on Twitter.

Martina Nee

Press and Communications Manager

The European Consumer Centre is part of the European Consumer Centres Network (ECC-Net), which covers 30 countries (all EU countries plus Norway and Iceland), and offers a free and confidential information and advice service to the public on their rights as consumers, assisting customers with cross-border disputes. ECC Ireland is funded by the European Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy, the European Consumer Centre cannot be held responsible for matters arising from any errors or omissions contained in this publication. The information provided is intended as a guide only and not as a legal interpretation.

© 2017 – European Consumer Centre (Ireland), CLG incorporated in Ireland, No. 367035, Registered Charity No. 20048617 – CHY14708. Located at MACRO Centre, 1 Green Street, Dublin 7.

This ebulletin is part of the action 670695 – ECC-Net IE FPA which has received funding under a grant for an ECC action from the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2014-2020).

The content of this ebulletin represents the views of the author only and it is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture, and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.


Competition and consumer protection commission