Short answer NEVER - Long answer.....
Times have changed for us all and our shopping habits have changed for good. As you’d expect I’m a big believer in online shopping and this has only strengthened through the last 14 months of chaos. It is great to see the majority joining me in the convenience, savings and security of online shopping.
But Brexit has thrown a lot of confusion and fear into the equation.
First let me say Brexit is not getting “fixed” any time soon. I’m still amazed at the expectation of so many UK retailers and suppliers that the Brexit problems are the EU making things difficult. Just today I was chatting with a UK supplier of shop fittings and I was gobsmacked when he assured me Brexit would be fixed as soon as the EU stops treating the UK differently.
The UK has chosen to leave the EU for whatever reason and I still think it is only dawning on UK business what this actually means. When dealing with the UK, Customs are here for good, Red Tape is permanent and costs and delays just have to be factored in. Simply put the UK is not in the EU and I don't see this changing today or tomorrow do you?
The problem for Irish online shoppers is that so many UK online stores still pretend to be Irish with a .ie domain name. Then post purchase you wait for two weeks for a delivery and if it needs returning you are screwed. The customs declaration on the box tells the world what you’ve purchased and the dreaded customs bill at the door from the DPD man.
I have talked about all these problems in the past but prior to January it was all a little unreal now we have all experienced the stress of shopping with the UK first hand and it is unfortunately putting Irish consumer off online shopping. Even the biggest are effected with Amazon.co.uk charging customs charges now on every order.
A few tips to make your online shopping experience much smoother.
- Just because it’s .ie doesn’t make it Irish anymore - Check the Contact Us page or the Registered address at the bottom of the homepage. If it is UK based beware.
- Returns / Delivery - Shopping online in the EU actually gives you more protection than in store. With a 14 day cooling off period. But shopping from the UK you now have no protection and if you need to return you may actually have to pay customs.
- Don’t Reject Just Because we’re Irish - The days of stupid Irish retailers gouging customers are gone. Buy Irish - we’re friendlier, just as cheap, quicker to deliver and on the end of a phone if you have a question or a problem.
Online retailers in Ireland have really upped their game over the last 12 months and it is brilliant to see. I was one of the shoppers that was forced to reassess after brexit, as I had defaulted to a load of UK stores. I’m delighted I did. PlayBlue now sources nearly everything we use in Ireland, and we always check a new website to ensure it is based in Ireland before purchase and honestly it has worked out great, quicker delivery, same or better pricing when you factor in shipping and the retailer is local - I can call in.