KILDARE CITIZENS INFORMATION: Know Your Rights

Consumer affairs

Kildare Citizens Information

Reporter:

Kildare Citizens Information

Email:

maynooth@citinfo.ie

KILDARE CITIZENS INFORMATION: Know Your Rights

What are your rights when online shopping from the UK?

Kildare Citizens Information Service answers some of your questions.

I clicked on a link in a text message that turned out to be a scam. What should I do next?

Scams target people of all ages and backgrounds. Scams are about tricking you into parting with your money and are becoming more and more sophisticated and difficult to spot. During busy seasons, such as Christmas, fraud and other scams increase.

If you suspect you’ve been scammed you should act immediately:

l Stop all contact with the scammer;

l Do not send any more payments;

l If you paid by credit or debit card, tell your bank or card provider immediately;

l Report the incident to your local garda station — scamming is a criminal matter;

l Gather any records you have about the scam (emails or other communications);

l Protect your devices by resetting your passwords and update your anti-virus software;

l Report the incident to consumer protection agencies such as the CPCC, for advice and to help stop other people being caught in the same scam.

You may be able to get your money back depending on what happened and how you paid the scammer.

You may get your money back if you:

l Notice money has been taken from your account without your authorisation, and you contact your bank immediately. In most circumstances, your bank must refund you for an unauthorised payment.

l Bought something from a scammer with your debit card, credit card or PayPal. You can ask your bank or credit provider to reverse the transaction through a process known as a chargeback.

It’s unlikely you will get your money back if you:

l Paid by bank transfer. It can be harder to get money back, but the sooner you contact your bank the better.

l Paid by money transfer services such as MoneyGram, Pay Point or Western Union.

l Paid by vouchers or gift card.

To protect yourself in future, you should not share your personal information if you don’t know who you are dealing with. Trust your instinct and always ask yourself ‘is it safe?’

You can read more about how to protect yourself from scams on citizensinformation.ie. We also have information on new scam warnings.

I ordered something online from a UK website – will I have to pay extra charges when it arrives because of Brexit?

From January 1, 2021, you may have to pay extra tax when having your online shopping delivered from the UK (this does not include Northern Ireland). This is because the UK has left the European Union (Brexit)and the transition period that was in place ended on December 31, 2020.

Depending on the item’s value and where it was made (place of origin), you may have to pay:

l Value Added Tax (VAT)

l Customs duty

How will I know if I owe these taxes?

If your package is valued at €22 or less (including the transport, insurance and handling costs), you do not have to pay any VAT or customs duty. However, if your package is valued at €23 or more (including the transport, insurance and handling costs), you have to pay VAT. The standard rate of VAT for most items bought in Ireland is 21%.

If the items were made in the UK and are valued at €150 or more (not including transport, insurance and handling charges), you do not have to pay customs duty.

However, if the items were not made in the UK and are valued at €150 or more (excluding transport, insurance and handling charges), you may have to pay customs duty. The amount of customs duty you pay depends on the type of product you buy.

You should be aware that the value limits are for the whole delivery, not just one item.

How do I pay these charges, and who do I pay them to?

You may have already paid Irish VAT and customs duty during the checkout stage of your online purchase. This is because some UK retailers are registered with Revenue and automatically charge the relevant taxes as part of the purchase. Check your receipt (this is usually sent to you by email) to see if you have already paid Irish VAT or customs duty.

If the UK business is not registered with Revenue, the postal service or courier will send you a bill before delivering your package. This is because the postal service or courier completes all the relevant customs declarations, including where the product is manufactured. You will usually be charged an administration fee for this service, which can be a minimum of €10 to €15.

Are there any other changes to my consumer rights when I buy from the UK?

As a result of Brexit, there are changes to your consumer rights when buying online from businesses in the UK. You will still have consumer rights but they will be set down in UK law and not EU law. It is very important to check the terms and conditions on the seller’s website to find out your rights around:

l Returning the item if you change your mind;

l Cancelling the item before it is dispatched;

l Complaining if something goes wrong.

Citizens Information Centres are currently not open to drop-in callers. You can contact your local centre by phone or email for information and advice.

— Newbridge CIC Telephone: 0761 07 8300 newbridge@citinfo.ie

— Maynooth CIC Telephone: 0761078100 maynooth@citinfo.ie.