Consumer Skills
18th October 2013

Don’t Be Left Out Of Pocket – Shop Safely Online

With one in three people in Northern Ireland now shopping online at least once a month, and ahead of the busy Christmas period the Consumer Council has launched a campaign to help consumers shop safely online.

The Consumer Council’s ‘Online Shopping Tips’ will help you recognise safe shopping websites, protect yourself from scams and understand your rights.

Speaking about online shopping, Philippa McKeown-Brown, Head of Education said: “It might seem a while away but many of us will be starting our Christmas shopping and each year more and more of us are doing this online. Christmas is expensive enough without costly pitfalls so we are advising consumers how to shop safely when purchasing goods and services via the internet.

“Consumers may not realise but they have the same rights when shopping online as they do when shopping on the high street. If goods do not fit the description, are not of satisfactory quality or not fit for purpose you may be entitled to a repair, replacement or refund. Online shoppers also have extra rights that allow a seven day cooling-off period to cancel most types of orders and request a full refund.

“The Consumer Council urges consumers to make sure the website they are purchasing from is secure – look for ‘https’ in the website address and check for a padlock icon in the browser bar. We also encourage consumers to always read the terms and conditions. Check who pays for returns and make sure the website gives the company’s postal address and telephone numbers.”

To find out more about online auction sites and other top tips, get your free copy of the Consumer Council’s ‘Online Shopping Tips’ leaflet by downloading a copy at or request a copy by contacting 0800 121 6022, Twitter (@ConsumerCouncil) or Facebook (Consumer Council Northern Ireland).