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EU Businesses: Brexit Checklist for Online Shopping

EU businesses buying from the UK businesses need to be aware of the following import requirements (S,P)

Additional import charges and Value Added Tax (VAT) apply when EU businesses buy from websites in the UK (depending on the value of the items and where the product is manufactured). Also, EU consumer protection legislation may no longer apply, instead, your consumer rights will be set down in UK law. As a result, it may be more difficult to resolve a dispute with a UK business

Shopping online from a UK business

When you buy online, you have additional protections under EU law. These rights do not apply if you buy from a trader based outside the EU. EU Businesses will still have consumer rights when buying online from UK retailers. However, these rights will be set down in UK law and not EU law. The legal guarantees you have under EU law may no longer apply.

Here are some suggestions:

Check the location of the business

Find out where the business is located. Do not rely on the website name, for example .ie, or .eu or that prices are displayed in Euro.

Check the terms and conditions (T&C’s), privacy policy or contact us pages of the website for either:

  • A physical address for the business

  • Information on where orders are shipped from (this should be in the ‘Deliveries’ section under the company’s T&C’s)

Check the small print

Read the terms and conditions on the website. Make sure you understand your rights around:

  • Returning the item if you change your mind (and whether the business covers the cost of returns)

  • Cancelling the order before it is dispatched

  • Before you buy, check if the business has included any Irish VAT or customs charges in the final price. If not, then you may have to cover the costs on delivery of your items – see ‘Taxes and other charges’.

Taxes and other charges

Non-UK businesses may have to pay taxes and duties such as customs duty and VAT when you buy from a UK business (except Northern Ireland). Whether you must pay additional charges depends on the value and origin of the products you bought

Find out what VAT and import charges you will have to pay before ordering from a UK site. The table below is a guide, however, if you are not sure check with the retailer before you buy.

Note: the value limits below are for the whole delivery, not just one item.

The brexit checklist below of things to note when shopping online.

  • Check where the business is based

If the business is based outside the EU, you may consider finding an

alternative EU store, to ensure you have stronger rights should an issue arise in

the future.

  • Buy from reputable retailers

When shopping online, it’s important to do some quick research, check reviews

and social media pages.

  • Check the cancellation & returns policy

When buying goods online from non-EU based businesses, read the T&Cs on

their website and check if you can return or cancel your order if you change

your mind.

  • Check for additional taxes or charges

If you are buying from a business outside of the EU, be sure to read the T&Cs on

their website for details of any import taxes or additional charges that you may

have to pay - for example, VAT or customs charges - on delivery.

  • Pay by card

When shopping online, pay by card so that if you do run into problems you may

have the option of a chargeback from your credit or debit card provider.

  • Check that the website is secure

Before you put in your card details lookout for an ‘s’ after ‘http’ at the beginning

of the url and a padlock symbol in your browser’s task bar, which show the

website is secure.


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Buying online from the UK after Brexit
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