Minister Helen McEntee highlights potential Brexit changes when buying online
Press release26 August 2019
Today, (Monday) the Minister for European Affairs Helen McEntee will visit the An Post Mail Centre in Portlaoise, alongside representatives from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to see how An Post has been getting Brexit ready. The Minister will also take the opportunity to highlight how Brexit may impact on consumers who purchase products online from the UK, particularly if they are to leave the European Union without a deal.
Minister Helen McEntee said; “With less than 10 weeks to go to the Brexit deadline on October 31st, the Government is reminding consumers that they need to be aware of changes for online retail shopping as a result ofBrexit.
“In the event of a no-deal Brexit, immediate changes will come in the form of increased VAT, import tariffs and changes to consumer rights protection for products bought from the UK. I hope this doesn’t happen – but it’s so important that people are aware that buying online will change when the UK leaves the EU and these changes will be immediate if they leave without a deal.
“That is why the government is recommending that before people shop online they should:
· Know where the company you are buying from is based.
· Always read the retailer’s terms and conditions carefully before buying, particularly around your rights to cancel the order, exchange or return the good. If the website is not based in the EU, this becomes even more important (as EU consumer law will not apply in the UK).
· Before ordering from outside the EU, find out what VAT and import charges you may have to pay and how these payments can be made.
Garret Bridgeman, Managing Director of An Post Mails & Parcels explained in addition to two years’ Brexit Planning, An Post is unique in having the end-to-end national and international mails expertise and global contacts to manage Brexit changes for private and business customers. The Company has been transforming its parcels business in line with rapidly growing ecommerce business.
“It’s our job to manage whatever comes out of Brexit. An Post already handles hundreds of thousands of parcels every week from non-EU countries , the paperwork and where duty or tax charges are due, we collect them from our customers as part of our national delivery service. We also carry Irish goods to the world every day and we are working closely with Irish companies of all sizes on their international shipping and logistics. An Post is daily contact with our colleagues in Customs, in Royal Mail and with all our national and international contract customers to ensure readiness for all possible Brexit outcomes”
Fergal O’Leary, Member of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission said; “When you buy online from a business in the EU you have strong consumer rights, particularly if you change your mind or if your purchases are not delivered. These rights do not apply if you buy from a business outside of the EU. So it is important to prepare now for the possibility that following Brexit there will be changes to your rights if you are buying online from a UK based retailer.
“We have prepared helpful information for consumers about the impact Brexit could have on their rights when shopping online and booking a package holiday. At a minimum, before you buy you should be sure you know where the business is located, and if its outside the EU, check the terms and conditions on their website – particularly the returns policy and any costs for returning goods. Make sure you are happy with these before you purchase anything.”
“Lynda Slattery, Head of Revenue’s Brexit Policy Unit said “Irish consumers that currently buy goods online, or by mail order, for personal use from outside the European Union (EU), may have to pay certain taxes and duties including customs duty, excise duty and VAT. Post Brexit, these rules will apply to products bought from the UK so that such purchases will cost the consumer more than they do now. Consumers will need to pay these taxes and duties before they will be able to get the goods they purchase.”
The government is urging consumers who use online retail to make sure that they are fully aware of the changes they will come as a result of Brexit. Consumers should visit www.gov.ie/brexit to find out practical information about how they can get Brexit ready.