Your online shopping rights
- Your rights
- Before you buy
- Your right to cancel
- Taxes and duties on online sales
- Your rights when an order is delayed or not delivered
- Faulty goods and services
- How to complain
- More information
The Consumer Rights Act 2022 (pdf)) introduces new rights when you buy online, by catalogue or over the phone. This page explains these consumer rights.
They only apply if you bought something on or after 29 November 2022 from a seller based in Ireland or the EU.
You have different rights if you:
- Bought online, by catalogue or over the phone on or before 28 November 2022
- Bought from a seller in the UK
When you buy online, you have the right to the same protections under consumer law as buying in a shop.
When you buy goods online you are entering into a contract called a distance contract. With this type of contract, you do not enter into the contract in person and you cannot check the products before you buy. Because of this, you have extra protections under consumer law – see below.
Before you buy
Under consumer law you have a legal right to certain information before and after you buy online.
Information before you buy
You have a legal right to information before you buy, including:
- The seller’s business name, address, phone number, email address and other communication channels
- Product details (if not already clear)
- Total price, or how it will be calculated
- Personalised price, when this applies (this is where the price is calculated based on your profile or online behaviour)
- Length of the contract
- Details on payment and performance
- Any extra charges, for example, delivery charges
- Your right to cancel, where it applies
- Any conditions that apply to deposits, when applicable
- Delivery information
The information must be clear, understandable and given to you before you buy.
Information before you checkout
The seller must make sure you always know when you are making a payment. Sellers cannot use pre-ticked boxes for additional payments.
Information after buying
You must get a copy of the signed contract or confirmation of your order. The confirmation must be on paper or in another durable format such as email.
If there is a dispute about what information was provided, the seller must show they gave you the information.
Your right to cancel
You have a right to cancel within 14 days when a product is not bought in a physical shop. This is also known as a ‘withdrawal’ or ‘cooling off’ period.
This means you can cancel the contract up to 14 days from when the contract was agreed and get a full refund.
You do not have to give you a reason for cancelling. The 14 days starts once you physically receive the goods.
If the seller does not give you information on your cancellation rights, your right to cancel is extended by 12 months. If the seller gives you information on your right to cancel within this 12-month period, the cooling-off period ends 14 days from the date you get the information.
You can read more about cooling off periods for services or digital content or services.
How to cancel
Before the cooling-off period ends, you must tell the seller you want to cancel. You must do this in writing by email or post, or by using the cancellation form provided by the seller.
Right to a refund within 14 days of cancellation
You must be refunded within 14 days of cancellation, using the same payment method you used, unless you agree to a different payment method.
The cooling-off period does not apply to certain purchases.
- Personalised or custom-made products
- Products with a short shelf life that spoil quickly
- Products that cannot be returned for health or hygiene reasons
- Leisure services that are for a set date or period such as hotel bookings, car rental or concert tickets
- Passenger transport services such as bus, rail or air
Who pays for the cost of return?
You are responsible for returning the product to the seller. The seller does not have to refund you for return postage costs. Some sellers will cover the return costs but it depends on the seller’s return policy. The seller must tell you before you bought the product whether you will have to pay the return postage costs yourself.
If the seller did not tell you beforehand that you would be responsible for the return costs, then you can claim the costs back.
Taxes and duties on online sales
You should be told how much VAT you have to pay at checkout.
If you buy a product from a seller based outside the EU, you have to pay VAT on all items, regardless of value. You have to pay customs duty for products over €150.
You may also have to pay VAT and excise duty for certain types of products such as alcohol and tobacco.
Revenue has more information about buying goods online and VAT. You can read more about taxes and other charges when you buy online from the UK after Brexit.
Your rights when an order is delayed or not delivered
The seller must deliver your product to you either:
- Within 30 days of buying them (unless you agreed a different date)
- On the date you agreed with them
If the seller does not deliver the product as agreed in the contract or within 30 days, you can request a new delivery date.
You can insist that all items you bought in the one transaction are delivered at once. The seller cannot make you accept deliveries in instalments.
You can end the contract if:
- The seller cannot or refuses to deliver within the new time frame you request
- A new delivery date is no longer suitable for you, for example, you needed the product for a specific date or event
You must tell the business you are using your right to end your contract for non-delivery. The business must give you a refund within 14 days.
Faulty goods and services
All products or services you buy online must meet certain conditions of quality, performance and durability to be in conformity with the contract you made when you bought it. In conformity means the product or service is as you expect it would be according to the contract you made with the seller.
There are slightly different conditions of quality, performance and durability for goods, services and digital content or services.
You are entitled to certain remedies when something you buy does not conform with the contract. A remedy can be a repair, replacement, price reduction or refund.
How to complain
Complain in writing to the seller as soon as you can, to see if they can fix the problem.
If you cannot resolve the problem, you can:
- Contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) for information and advice
- Contact your bank or credit card provider to use chargeback. The CCPC has more information on chargeback
- Take a claim against the seller using the Small Claims Procedure
Get more advice on how to complain.
Read more from the CCPC on buying online.You can also read about the Consumer Rights Act and what it means for you.