What you need to know about post-Brexit charges on your online fashion shopping

Your online shopping rights have changed since Britain left the EU, and some consumers have been stung by extra charges.  We look at  the changed landscape for consumers, and the various policies of UK retailers such as ASOS and BooHoo 
What you need to know about post-Brexit charges on your online fashion shopping

Online shopping packages received from the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) can be subject to VAT and other charges. Picture: iStock

We’re two weeks into Britain’s separation from the EU and online shoppers are starting to feel the effects. For many hoping to give their wardrobe a new year refresh, delayed deliveries and surprise custom charges at the door have featured in their experience.

Online shoppers may have to pay VAT if the value of the items, including shipping costs, is €22 or more. VAT must be paid on imported items at the same rate that applies in Ireland for similar goods.

Whether you’re buying makeup, fashion or anything else online, you need to be prepared to calculate the cost of customs and tax into your order and decide if the order is worth the price.

Alternatively, you can support Irish businesses selling similar items. Click here for a list of 300 retailers trading in Munster with online shopping options.

Your rights as a consumer 

Even though the EU and UK agreed a trade deal, there are still changes to your consumer rights which came into effect on January 1. Online shopping packages received from the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) are now subject to VAT and other charges.

When you shop online from a business in the EU, you have strong consumer rights under EU consumer protection legislation, including the Consumer Rights Directive (CRD). The CRD includes the right, in most cases, to cancel your order within 14 days of delivery.

You no longer automatically have these rights when you buy online from a business based in the UK.

Before you buy anything online, the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) recommends you find a physical address for the business. If the retailer is in an EU member state, then your consumer rights will not change because of Brexit. If the business is outside the EU, including the UK, then the rights you have under the Consumer Rights Directive do not automatically apply.

You should also carefully read the terms and conditions on the website if it is based outside the EU to determine if you have the right to return or cancel your order, as well as to check if the retailer has included any Irish VAT or customs duties in the final price. If not, then you may face a bill when your purchase is delivered to your home.

Here’s what five of the bigger retailers have to say about potential post-Brexit custom charges on your orders:


“If you’re placing an order for delivery to an address in the EU, you won’t have to pay any new customs duties or import taxes, as we will ship to that address from our EU-based warehouse.” 


“Due to additional requirements by local customs authorities for deliveries to the Republic of Ireland from 1 January 2021, some deliveries may take slightly longer than usual. Your delivery date at checkout and in Your Orders will provide our most accurate and up-to-date estimate of the delivery date for an order.” 


“Depending on the value of your order, your boohoo parcel may or may not be charged customs or import duties. If your parcel is charged, it is up to the person receiving the parcel to cover these costs.

Unfortunately, these charges are out of boohoo’s hands, and vary widely from country to country, so we’re unable to predict what your particular charges may be.” 


“No additional VAT or duty charges will be requested on delivery by our couriers. The price on our website will be the final cost to you. Littlewoods Ireland as an Irish registered company continue to accept your returns free of charge, in line with current Irish and EU legislation.

“We are currently experiencing some delays to returns. We are doing everything we can to process returns promptly. If you are making a return, please ensure you retain your proof of return or take a photo of your receipt, as this can be used to track your parcel.” 

Pretty Little Thing 

“If you order Products from our site for delivery outside the UK, they may be subject to import duties and taxes which are levied when the delivery reaches the specified destination. You will be responsible for payment of any such import duties and taxes. Please note that We have no control over these charges and cannot predict their amount.”

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