Black Friday shopping: Know your rights so things won’t go wrong

Shoppers may be tempted to buy first and think later during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Black Friday shopping: Know your rights so things won’t go wrong

However, bargain hunters should be prepared for when things go wrong by learning more about their consumer rights under EU legislation, says the European Consumer Centre Ireland (ECC).

“We would urge consumers to learn more about their consumer rights in case things go wrong, do thorough research about not just the product but also the trader.”

What are your rights when you discover you have purchased a faulty item on sale?

Consumer rights do not change if a faulty item is purchased in a sale, according to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC).

“If you agreed to buy something and it does not work, you are entitled to return the purchase and get a refund from the seller.”

What are your rights when you discover you have purchased a faulty item at full price and now it is on sale?

If a faulty item is bought at full price and the item’s price is further reduced, the consumer is still entitled to a refund for the full amount paid or a replacement of the same value with proof of purchase.

What are your consumer rights when you change your mind about a purchase bought in a sale?

Whether an item is part of a sale or not, the buyer is not automatically entitled to refund or exchange if they change your mind, according to the CCPC.

Some shops may offer an exchange or refund within a certain amount of time as a goodwill gesture. This refund could be issued as a store credit or gift card.

This goodwill gesture depends on the shop’s policy. It is not a legal requirement.

However, a shop’s returns policy may be different during a sale, so the CCPC advises to check the policy before buying if there is a chance you might change your mind.

What are your rights when you change your mind about something you purchased online, within the EU?

More than half of Irish shoppers are unaware EU legislation allows consumers to change their mind about a purchase when they buy online from a business based in the EU, according to research carried out by the CCPC.

Under the Consumer Rights Directive, shoppers have a 14-day ‘cooling off’ period to change their minds and return a purchase.

There are certain items you cannot return such as swimwear, underwear, customised or perishable goods and computer software, audio or video recordings that have been unsealed by the customer.

Most importantly, “just because it has a .ie or address it doesn’t mean it’s an EU site. Make sure to check the business’s geographic address on the website,” the CCPC says.

You should get your refund within 14 days of the business receiving the item back, according to the European Consumer Center Ireland (ECC).

What are your rights when you discover you have purchased something faulty online, from within the EU?

If you discover an item is faulty within six months of purchase, you are entitled to send it back for a refund, if a repair or replacement is not satisfactory. Refunds must be processed within 30 days, according to the ECC.

What are your rights when you change your mind about something you purchased online, from a shop outside of the EU?

The Consumer Rights Directive online applies to purchases online from businesses based within the EU. If you are buying outside the EU, you should find out as much as possible about the business’s return policy before you buy.

Origins of Black Friday

- Jessica Casey

An American tradition, Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving - the fourth Thursday in November.

This weekend 137.4 million Americans are expected to take part in the sales, according to the National Retail Federation.

The origin of the term “Black Friday” is subject to debate. Some say it dates back to the 1950s when in order to take advantage of a four-day weekend droves of people would call in sick to work the day after their national holiday.

A more recent explanation of the name comes from the idea that the day moves businesses from operating at a loss, ie operating in the red, to operating at a profit, ie in the black.

US-owned supermarket Asda is partly responsible for introducing Black Friday to Britain. The shop, owned by Walmart, was one of the first to run promotions on the day in 2013.

According to the Black Friday Death Counter, a website that tracks deaths and injuries during or as a direct result of the sales, seven people have died and 98 have been injured since 2006.

In fact, several fights have broken out on this side of the water over the years with one woman hospitalised with a suspected broken wrist after a stampede of people rushed an Asda store in Belfast. Crowds of people had waited outside the shop from 5am that morning for discounted TVs, according to BBC reports.

In 2014, Black Friday made its first appearance on Irish shores.

By 2015, the shopping event had made its mark with customers here spending up to €100m across the four-day period, according to Retail Excellence.

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