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Consumers in Northern Ireland suffer online shopping issues

26 June 2015 - 10:38 by Sarah Collinson

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When it comes to shopping online it seems that there are differing experiences to be had with this type of retail service, depending on where you live in the UK. And a new report from the Consumer Council has shown that people living in Northern Ireland are at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the country.

There are a range of issues that shoppers here face, most of which relate to the delivery process, rather than any other aspect of e-commerce.

Specifically, the study found that in Northern Ireland the cost for delivery is likely to be higher than for those living in England, Wales or Scotland.

The high costs are just one thing to put up with, as many people who order products online will also find that they have to wait longer for deliveries to arrive at their door.

Most problematic of all are the instances in which certain retailers will simply refuse to offer a delivery option to Northern Ireland, instead focusing their attentions on the rest of the UK.

Consumer Council spokesperson, Kellin McCloskey, said that this state of affairs is persisting in spite of the fact that more than one in three shoppers in Northern Ireland chooses to make an online purchase once or more a month.

The restrictions on delivery are stifling growth in what would otherwise be a strong marketplace for e-commerce sales and it is apparent that retailers need to do more to strengthen their distribution infrastructures, so that getting goods to consumers in Northern Ireland is more affordable and fast.

Delivery restrictions or outright refusals to ship to Northern Ireland are currently put in place by in excess of a third of retailers, which is something that consumer rights organisations are hoping to address.