Minister Byrne warns Black Friday online shoppers to exercise caution before they buy from outside the European Union

Published on: 26 November 2021

Minister for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, T.D. has warned shoppers to exercise caution when buying online during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotion period. Ahead of one of the busiest periods for online shopping, Minister Byrne has issued a reminder to people to check where a business is based before clicking “add to cart”.


Minister Byrne explained:


“When you shop online from a business within the European Union, your consumer rights are strongly protected and there are no additional charges in terms of VAT or import charges. However, when you order from a shop that is located outside of the European Union, you need to consider what additional charges you can expect.


"Many of us frequently shop online from businesses based in the United Kingdom. While there will be no import charges in cases of goods purchased from Northern Ireland by Irish or EU consumers (due to the Northern Irish Protocol), goods purchased from Britain will attract additional charges. Some British businesses will include these in the cost of purchase, but many do not. You should check this before you buy.


"Even if the website displays their prices in euro, or has a ‘.ie’ or ‘.eu’ domain – it might still be a UK website. You must check the registered address of the business before you buy”.


Your rights around returning unwanted purchases are also dependent on where the business is registered. 


Minister Byrne continued:


“Businesses in the European Union must allow a purchaser to return goods purchased online within 14 days. Businesses based outside the EU can set their own rules and so you should make sure you know your rights before you place an order.”


For more information please see the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission website.

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