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Dublin, 19th December 2017 – If you’re looking for a trendy, vintage, or designer furniture at a fraction of the cost, then The European Consumer Centre Network (ECC-Net) is warning consumers to do your research first. The warning comes after the network received a number of complaints about some websites offering extremely low prices for replica designer furniture.

In 2016, 49 complaints related to furniture required further assistance from ECC Ireland and ECC-Net colleagues, ranking this area the fourth most complained of category of cross-border consumer complaints.

Press and Communications Officer for ECC Ireland, Martina Nee, said: ‘Complaints involving furniture have been a regular feature in the top five categories of complaints reported to ECC-Net in recent years. Transactions involving furniture typically involve large sums of money and so, when things go wrong, consumers can be left significantly out of pocket. There are also longer delivery times which can mean that consumers can no longer avail of the chargeback schemes provided by their bank or credit/debit card provider. Many complaints also relate to unfair contract terms, unfair commercial practices, and the failure of traders to comply with the consumer’s right of withdrawal.’

Tips for consumers prior to ordering furniture online

  • Read the terms and conditions and ask yourself the following questions: What is the delivery time? Are there any delivery charges? How do I exercise my right to withdraw/cooling off period once I do not buy custom-made products? (If the items you have ordered are custom-made there is no right to withdraw or cooling off period). What if the product is not in conformity with the contract – is there information about my rights?
  • Beware of counterfeit goods: If the price is so low that it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be vigilant and check if the item you want to purchase is subject to copyright; if the item infringes copyright there is a risk that the furniture could be confiscated by customs and destroyed and/or you could be issued with a fine.
  • Make sure you can get in touch with the seller: Under EU legislation traders should provide full contact details including phone number, email, and geographical address. Do not hesitate to make contact in advance and check the seller out.
  • Do your research: Know who you are dealing with. Research the website to see where it is based (do not rely on domain address) and check when it was registered (using ‘whois lookup domain’ online search). Check online forums and other channels for reviews to see if other consumers have encountered difficulties.

After ordering: Remain vigilant and act quickly if something doesn’t feel right

If you encounter problems such as additional delivery charges, the product is not delivered on time, the delivery date is postponed, refusal of your right to withdraw from the contract, or if the seller doesn’t answer your communications anymore, then you need to act quickly. Send a letter/email formally requesting the seller to deliver in a reasonable time and outlining your rights under the Consumer Rights Directive (2011/83/EU). You may also contact your bank or credit card provider to see if you can avail of chargeback. If the trader is based in another EU country and you continue to have difficulties then you can contact ECC Ireland for free information and advice.

 

***ENDS***

 

Notes to Editor

If the trader is based in Ireland then consumers can contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) for advice.

For more information about furniture and other complaints which required further intervention by ECC Ireland in 2016, please click here for the latest annual report.

ECC Ireland 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 consumers with cross-border disputes. ECC Ireland is co-financed by the European Commission and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

For more information contact:

Martina Nee, ECC Ireland press and communications officer, (0)1 8797643 / (085) 8895333, or email mnee@eccireland.ie. ECC Ireland can also be found on Twitter @eccireland.