The Consumer Council is reminding consumers to shop safely online this festive period

This week is National Consumer Week, a campaign where UK consumer bodies come together to raise awareness of important issues, with the focus this year being online shopping and deliveries.

Research shows that almost two thirds of Northern Ireland shoppers may do more shopping online due to the impact of COVID-19. Therefore, The Consumer Council is using this opportunity to remind consumers in Northern Ireland to shop safely online over the upcoming festive period.

Kellin McCloskey, Head of Postal Policy at The Consumer Council, said: “With the growth and reliance on online shopping in 2020, it is more important than ever for consumers to know their rights if they are undertaking more of their shopping online.

In addition to knowing their rights, consumers should also ensure that they are getting the best value for their money. It is important that consumers shop around for the best deal before buying a good or service.”

“The Consumer Council is providing some do’s and don’ts to consider before shopping online:

  • Do claim for standard postage costs: If you have notified the seller and returned your online item within the 14 days cooling off period after the date of delivery, you should be entitled to a refund for the item plus the cost of the least expensive delivery option (regardless of whether you purchased a more expensive delivery service);
  • Don’t assume you can always return goods from private sellers trading on online marketplaces: Shopping online can give consumers extra protections if they wish to return goods purchased.  However, this isn’t always the case when buying from a private individual, such as marketplace sellers.  Always check the seller’s return policy before buying;
  • Do consider how you can protect your purchase if the seller goes out of business: If you are buying goods over £100, consider using your credit card for added protection; and
  • Don’t always assume all sellers deliver to Northern Ireland:  Online retailers that do not sell to Northern Ireland must make this restriction visible on their website to inform consumers before they might place an order.

“These are just a few of our handy tips that consumers can use to stay safe online this festive period. For more information, we would recommend that consumers download and read ‘Your Guide to Shopping Safely Online’, our free guide that gives tips and information on protecting their computer, money, rights and parcel deliveries when shopping online.”

Download ‘Your Guide to Shopping Safely Online’ by visiting:


  1. UK Consumer Bodies include – The Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, Citizens Advice (England, Wales) Citizens Advice Scotland.
  2. ‘Your Guide to Shopping Safely Online’:
  3. Shopper rights when shopping on the High Street – can be found here:
  4. Data source: The Continuing Impact of the Covid Pandemic on Attitudes & Behaviours, Cognisense, September 2020.
Last updated 7 months ago