Amazon lifts bar on Irish shoppers

 

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has lifted most of the delivery restrictions it previously applied to shoppers in Ireland.

Since last week, the company is shipping electronics and a wide variety of other goods to Irish customers for the first time in three years.

This follows a company decision to implement the WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directive on waste recycling of electronics products by collecting the levy due to the Government here.

An Amazon spokesman confirmed to The Irish Times that the company had decided to comply with the directive so as to make its products available to the widest range of customers.

The company says it will now take back old electrical equipment on a like-for-like basis, free of charge. Irish customers are being advised to bring such used products to one of four recycling centres in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Kilkenny.

The lifting of restrictions applies to goods sold by amazon.co.uk directly but not to third party resellers who use the Amazon website. Previously, amazon.co.uk’s customers in Ireland could purchase only books, music, DVDs and computer games.

However, a restriction on delivery of heavy goods weighing over 30 kg remains in place, and orders for mobile phones and light-bulbs will not be taken from Irish customers either.

The prices on the amazon.co.uk site list British Vat at 15 per cent but Irish customers get charged the Irish rate of 21.5 per cent at checkout.

Amazon stopped delivering electrical goods to Ireland in 2006 after a row over the implementation of the WEEE directive. The company claimed it was being asked to pay WEEE waste tariffs for goods on which the producers had already paid equivalent tariffs.

Some other leading online retailers placed similar restrictions on Irish customers while others freely delivered all products to the Republic. Amazon’s change of heart is likely to prove a major boost for online commerce here, even if its dominance of the market is less marked than before.