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Are your terms and conditions for selling online in compliance with consumer law? - M. McLoughlin & Co Solicitors

1. Do your terms and conditions specify a 14 day cooling off period if this applies to your product or service?

2. What cancellation procedure is available to the consumer online (or in hard copy) to cancel the contract and return the product?

A Case study on the rules that apply for your online purchasers who are consumers:

Jane while browsing online spots a blue dress. The site is located within Ireland and provides details of the retailer, its telephone and email address and a full description of the product and images of the dress. It also has details of its customer complaints procedure and how to cancel an order.

Jane orders the dress which has a price of €75 plus a delivery charge of €5 payable by the consumer, so she pays €80 in total.

She then receives an email confirming her order. The email confirms that she paid €80 and that she has a 14 day cooling off (cancellation) period to decide on her purchase. The email sets out the details of how she can return the product and it also includes a link to a cancellation form on the website in case she changes her mind about the purchase.

consumer rights when buying online in Ireland

The dress arrives on Tuesday. Unfortunately it looks completely different on Jane than she had anticipated and so she decides that she does not want to keep the dress.

On Wednesday Jane uses the online cancellation form on the website to tell the retailer that she has changed her mind and will be returning the dress and cancelling her purchase.

Jane then has 14 days to return the dress to the retailer.

Under the terms and conditions that Jane signed up to when she purchased the dress she is responsible for paying the costs of returning the dress.

On receipt of Jane’s notification of cancellation the retailer has 14 days to reimburse Jane the €80 to cover both the cost of the dress and the initial delivery charge of the dress that was sent to her.

If the online shop had not informed Jane of the 14 day cooling off period Jane would have had 12 months to return the dress.


The material in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or taxation advice. Specific legal and taxation advice should be sought before acting. All information and taxation rules are subject to change without notice.

No liability whatsoever is accepted by M. McLoughlin & Co. for any action taken in reliance on the information in this article