CSO published figures record that the volume of retail sales in June 2022 was 2.4% higher than pre-Covid-19 levels in February 2020.
When you buy online, you have the right to the same protections under consumer law. Bridget Kennedy, based in Dungarvan Citizens Information Centre, explains: “When you buy online from a seller based in Ireland or elsewhere in the EU you have 14 calendar days to change your mind and cancel without having to give a reason. This is known as the ‘cooling-off period’. If you bought a product online your 14-day ‘cooling-off period’ starts when you get the product. The cooling-off period does not apply to certain purchases. Examples are leisure services, such as hotel bookings, car rental or concert tickets, or if the product was made especially for you.
“When you’re shopping online it is always important to do your research and pay securely. If you are worried about whether you are buying from an authentic website, research the company to make sure it’s a legitimate business.
Beware of websites that only have a contact form and no other contact information. Check online reviews, and make sure the website is secure by looking for a closed security padlock symbol in the browser window bar. Spelling or grammatical mistakes are a sign of a scam.
“If things do go wrong, you should contact the seller in writing if possible explaining what the issue is and how you would like it to be corrected. If the problem is not resolved to your satisfaction there are several options available to you. You can contact your bank and reverse the payment. This is known as chargeback. If you paid with PayPal you may be able to avail of PayPal’s Buyer Protection Scheme. You can use an independent third party service, such as the Online Dispute Resolution service, or the European Consumer Centres Network to resolve the dispute,” says Bridget.
Depending on the location of the seller you can use either the Irish or European small claims court procedures.
Mary Murtagh, the Development Manager in Waterford, says gift vouchers and electronic money gift cards are becoming increasingly popular.
“The Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act, on the 2nd of December 2019, set out the new rules for gift vouchers. The act states that gift vouchers must have no expiry date or be valid for at least five years.
“Electronic money gift cards are cards that can be used in a number of different shops, for example, One4all gift cards. The European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011 sets out that you must be informed of the conditions for using the e-money card, including any fees.”
For anyone needing information, advice or who has an advocacy issue they can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in County Waterford.
Citizens Information has a drop in service available Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at their Merchant’s Quay centre and on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday in their Dungarvan centre. Contact the offices in Waterford City on 0818 07 6580 and 0818 07 6560 and Dungarvan on 0818 076550 and [email protected] or visit the website www.citizensinformation.ie which is packed full of useful information.
They also have a dedicated Older Persons Information & Advice Clinic on Thursdays from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm at their centre on 37 Lower Yellow Road, Waterford City.