The 3 Rs of Shopping: Research, Rights, Redress 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are always big dates in the shopping calendar every year, and we expect increased volumes of online transactions this year in particular. 

The European Consumer Centre Ireland looks at some of the things you can expect while shopping in the pre-Christmas sales.  


If you wonder whether you can really get a genuine deal on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, the answer is: yes and no. If you’ve done your research and are one of the first to access the sales, you’ll probably get what you want. If you’re looking to make a spontaneous purchase, however, the sale stock might no longer be available online for late shoppers, just like in the actual shops.

The European Consumer Centre Ireland has these simple tips on how to avoid getting caught out when shopping in the sales and make sure you get the best deal available, here.



At this time of the year, you are probably inundated with promotional ads online and on your social media. While not all marketing ploys aimed at parting you from your money are fraudulent, you should remain alert for other ways you can be enticed to make a purchase unintentionally or on impulse. To spot potentially untruthful reviews and fake ratings, misleading or deceptive forms of marketing, as well as how to avoid online fraud, traps, scams and schemes, follow this advice here

Unfair terms and trading practices that prevent a consumer from making a free, fully informed purchasing decision are also a known problem. Don’t be fooled by “special” rights offered by a trader that are simply your basic statutory consumer rights.  Follow our advice on how to avoid unfair terms when making a purchase and entering a contract here.



Online shopping can sometimes be tricky if you are trying to ascertain where a particular online retailer is based. 

Firstly, if you try to shop local, check that the .ie website is actually based in Ireland. Note that, if the .ie owner is based in the Republic of Ireland or any country in the EU/EEA, the businesses must automatically comply with all the EU standard consumer protections. However, if the .ie owner is based in or trading from the UK or anywhere outside the EU, even though EU and Irish consumer law apply in principle, in reality however, consumer rights or the way in which they are extended to international customers may be different and their application not guaranteed. 

If you are making purchases from businesses and websites based outside the EU, find out what VAT and import charges you may have to pay. Shopping from non-EU businesses operating and shipping from outside the EU/EAA will always result in additional charges which are legitimate charges applied by Irish customs and revenue authorities at destination, usually upon delivery. 

Read more about shopping cross-border within and outside the EU here.    



Finally, remember that shopping online offers great choice, value and convenience, and you are afforded the same consumer rights as when shopping on the high street. Indeed, in many cases, your rights are even stronger: if you buy something online anywhere in the European Union, you are covered by EU consumer law. 

Nevertheless, if you feel you were caught out, here is where to go for advice:  

  • If you are resident in Ireland and you have a consumer dispute with a trader that is also based in Ireland, contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission on 
  • If you are resident in Ireland and you have a complaint about a trader based outside Ireland, the United Kingdom, the EU/EEA, the most reliable redress option is to raise a transaction dispute through your bank’s chargeback procedure. 
  • For any queries in relation to post-purchase VAT and import charges for deliveries from anywhere outside the EU (including the UK, excluding Northern Ireland), check with the Irish Revenue Commissioners here: 

If you are resident in Ireland and you have a complaint about a trader based in another European Union country, Norway, Iceland or the United Kingdom, and you have tried to resolve the matter directly with the trader to no avail, contact us, the European Consumer Centre Ireland, for assistance via our contact page here.  


All you need to know about your online cross-border shopping consumer rights,

as well as ways to obtain redress when something goes wrong, can be found on

in the online safety and online shopping sections.