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Research highlights lack of consumer awareness of Brexit impacts

10 Dec 2020 / brexit Print

Research highlights lack of Brexit consumer awareness

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has warned that EU rights will no longer automatically apply post Brexit when purchasing from UK websites

The CCPC and the Revenue Commissioners have jointly advised online shoppers to be mindful of the impact of Brexit on purchases they make from UK websites from 1 January 2021.

New research, released by the CCPC, highlights that only 15% of consumers are aware that buying from non-EU websites may attract higher taxes and charges.

Costs 

Buying from a UK-based website next year may incur additional costs, and current EU consumer rights will no longer automatically apply. 

Ray Ryan from Revenue’s Customs Division says that there are three charging scenarios that online shoppers should consider when buying from a UK website from 1 January:

“Firstly, online shoppers won’t face additional import charges when buying something for €22 (including shipping, delivery, insurance and handling charges), or less. 

“Secondly, however, if the value of the goods (including shipping, delivery, insurance and handling charges) is more than €22, VAT is payable.

Customs

“Thirdly consumers will have to pay Customs Duty and VAT if the value of the goods is more than €150 (excluding shipping, delivery, insurance and handling charges).”

Mr Ryan also explained that there are two models in place that cover payment of customs duty and VAT: “If the total price paid for the good or goods at time of purchase includes any Customs duty and VAT due, no further import charges will arise on delivery.

“If this is not the case, however, the carrier or postal service delivering goods bought online from outside the EU will complete the relevant custom formalities, and the amount of VAT and duties will be calculated by Customs based on the information provided.  The purchaser must pay these charges to the carrier or postal service before the goods are delivered.”

Disputes

The CCPC’s Doireann Sweeney said it was important to check where the trader is located: “EU Consumer Protection law gives Irish consumers the right to change their mind after they receive their purchases, and other strong protections when buying online.

"At this point in time, these rights are also reflected in UK law; however, from January, consumers may find it difficult to enforce these rights in disputes with UK retailers.

“Our research shows that while numbers shopping online from the UK are falling, only one in ten consumers plan to pay more attention to where a website is based after Brexit.”

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland