Your refund rights in Ireland
Getting your money back whether you shop online or in-store can be troublesome. Here are your refund rights explained and how to get your money back without a hitch.
Should you accept a credit note?
No, you do not need to accept a credit note if your complaint is covered under the Sale of Goods Act.
If your product is faulty, unfit for purpose or not as described, you can insist on a refund, repair or replacement regardless of store policy.
The shop may offer you a credit note as a gesture of goodwill if you change your mind about a purchase, but they are not under any obligation to do so.
Can you return a faulty gift for a refund?
Yes, under new legislation introduced in 2022, the recipient of a gift has exactly the same rights as the original purchaser.
If you have proof of purchase, you can return your gift for an exchange, refund, or repair.
Gift receipts can be used to return an item for an exchange or gift card but not usually for a cash refund.
What can I do if a retailer refuses to refund me?
A retailer can dispute your claim to a refund if it is acting within Irish legislation.
However, if you think the retailer is wrong, find out about how to make a complaint at Citizens Information. If you want to take your complaint further, contact the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)..
What if the item is reduced in the sale?
You have the same rights as a consumer even if you bought your product in a sale.
If your product is faulty, and once you have proof of purchase, the shop should follow the same laws that apply to non-sale items.
Without proof of purchase you will only be allowed the sale price.
Reasons you won’t be entitled to an in-store refund
When you buy goods from the high street, shopping mall or any physical shop, there are some circumstances when you are not legally entitled to a refund:
Shopping online and your refund rights
Digital content and services
Under the Consumer Rights Bill 2022, you have new rights for digital content, online products or services bought after 29th Nov 2022.
All digital content and services you buy must:
- Be provided by the seller in line with the contract
- Work as the seller said they would
- Match any advertisement, information, trial version or preview you got
- Come with all the accessories and instructions you need
- Be installed properly or come with the instructions you need to install it yourself
- Include information on any digital and security updates
- Be updated in line with the contract
Digital content includes:
- Video files, audio and music
- Digital games
- e-books and other e-publications
- Computer programs
Digital services covers:
- Streaming services
- Cloud computing
- Social media
- Video and audio sharing
- Other file hosting
Can you get your money back even if the item isn’t faulty?
If you change your mind about a purchase made online you have more refund rights than if you were buying from a high street store.
You are entitled to a ‘cooling-off period’, which lasts 14 days starting from the day you received the items.
This is because when you buy online, you are unable to view the goods before committing to purchase.
You can cancel the order for any reason before the end of the 14 day period, even if you just have a change of heart. The retailer is required by law to refund you. However, you may have to pay ‘shipping costs’ to send the goods back to the seller.
If the online retailer doesn’t adequately inform you of your cancellation rights, the Consumer Rights Directive 2014 states that the cooling-off period is extended to 12 months.
Are there any exceptions to the cooling-off period?
Yes, there are a number of reasons the seller can refuse to refund you, such as:
- bespoke goods, e.g. tailor-made or personalised items
- perishable products, e.g. fresh food, flowers and newspapers
- security sealed or wrapped items, e.g. CDs and DVDs
- underwear or swimwear
Are you responsible for the cost of returning items?
Yes, unless otherwise stated, you have to pay the cost of sending items back. However, some larger or well-known brands may have a free returns policy.
It’s worth checking the seller’s returns policy before you buy, because some bigger items may cost more to return than the refund amount.
What if your purchases are not delivered?
If your order doesn’t arrive, you should contact the seller to get a refund. This must be provided within 14 days by law.
If the seller fails to provide a refund and you have paid for the goods by debit or credit card, you may be able to initiate a chargeback claim.
When you buy from a seller within the EU, the purchase is covered by the Consumer Rights Directive (2014). Check the address of your online retailer because you will not be covered if they’re outside the EU.
Are you legally protected if you buy from an individual?
No, consumer protection legislation doesn’t cover you if you buy from an individual, either directly or through seller platforms, for example, eBay or Etsy.
However, PayPal, the online payment system, offers PayPal Buyer Protection when you want to request a refund or a transaction goes wrong.
Online auctions, are not governed by consumer law, and no cooling-off period applies, but the auction site may offer to help resolve any dispute.
Credit card returns and your refund rights
If you made the purchase on your credit card, your refund will be credited to your card. It’s unlikely you will get a cash refund because the money goes to your card issuer. This can take up to five business days normally.
In Ireland, you don’t get extra consumer protection if you buy with your credit card. However, you do get a form of protection called ‘chargeback’ if you make a purchase in-store or online with your debit or credit card.
What is a chargeback?
A chargeback is when your credit card provider reverses the transaction after you have paid for goods or services. You can claim a chargeback for:
- Non-delivery or failure to receive goods or services
- Faulty products or items sold not as described
How to make a chargeback claim
You can make a chargeback request up to 120 days after the card payment or agreed delivery date. You will need to:
- Request your refund from the seller first. If they refuse or have gone out of business you can contact your bank or card issuer.
- Contact your bank and ask them to start the chargeback process. They will then start the reversal by contacting the card processing network (Visa or Mastercard).
- The card processing network will inform the retailer of the dispute, request documentation from the retailer and debit their account.
- The retailer then has between 10 and 45 days to respond and defend their case. If they do not, you will be refunded and the case closed.
There is no legal basis for this process, but it’s a system put in place globally by the payment networks Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
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Returns and refunds FAQs
What is a credit note?
A credit note is a digital or physical note given to a customer in place of a refund. A credit note is, in effect, a voucher that can only be used for the shop (or chain of shops) that issued the credit note.
What is a warranty?
Warranties are optional and usually cost extra, unless they’re offered for free. They are usually offered by the shop where you bought the product.
A warranty is an insurance policy which covers the product beyond the manufacturer’s guarantee period. The benefit of a warranty is that if the product develops a fault or becomes unfit for purpose within the warranty period, the manufacturer has to pay for the repair or replace the item.
A warranty does not affect your refund rights.
What is PayPal Buyer Protection?
PayPal Buyer Protection offers you full consumer protection if you buy an item online with PayPal. If the transaction results in a problem, e.g. the item doesn’t arrive or is evidently not as described, Paypal will help you get a full refund.
You can find out more about whether your transaction qualifies on the PayPal website.